#BookReview – STATE OF GRACE by John R. Phythyon #fantasy

I’ve had this one on my Kindle for years (oh dear, that TBR list…) and decided I felt in the mood to catch up on some of the books I’d taken note of as I’d found their blurbs particularly intriguing. You’ll see why this snagged my attention, considering my own series tagline: ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings‘.

Here’s a couple of extracts from State of Grace blurb:

A super-powered secret agent. A megalomaniacal elf. A battle for the soul of a nation.
Wolf Dasher is a top agent on Her Majesty’s Shadow Service. Charismatic, cunning, and cool, he thinks he’s seen it all. Between his innate magical abilities and his skill with a sword, there’s never been a problem he can’t solve. But he’s unprepared for the myriad dangers of Alfar, land of elves. There to solve a gruesome murder, if he doesn’t adjust quickly, he’ll become the next victim.

State of Grace is the first novel in John R. Phythyon, Jr.’s slam-bang, fantasy-thriller mashup series. James Bond meets Game of Thrones in a setting both familiar and fresh. If you like super-spies, pulse-pounding chases, clever gadgets, *and* elves and magic, you’ll love the Wolf Dasher series. Pick up State of Grace today for fantasy adventure that’s shaken, not stirred!’

And so to my review:

State of GraceState of Grace by John R. Phythyon Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This starts with a truly gruesome death – if that’s not your thing, at least you’ll know not to read any further! The victim is a member of the Shadow Service – a fellow officer and friend of Wold Dasher, the agent sent to investigate.
The tagline of James Bond meets Game of Thrones is very apt – Wolf has all the characteristics of Bond, including the arrogance, and the ability to be only mildly offended when a woman he’s slept with becomes another victim of the magical killer. The brutality and shock deaths of well-drawn characters are very Game of Thrones. I was intrigued enough with the plot to continue reading, but I must say I didn’t really warm to Wolf.
There’s plenty of action, fascinating world building, and easy-to-read prose, making it a 3 and a half star read for me. If plot and action are your bag, its worth the read, but I didn’t empathise enough with the main character to want to read the next in series.

View all my reviews


  1. That comment–“didn’t empathise enough with the main character”–is enough to dissuade me, at least for the moment. I have a few really interesting Westerns on my TBR list.


    1. I admit I was disappointed, but then that was one of my motivations in developing Rustam, as I was so fed up with James Bond never being allowed to mature as a character, and Wolf Dasher seems pretty much stuck in that mold.


  2. The blurb sounded so good, Deborah, but I really do need to connect with the characters to enjoy a story. Thanks for sharing your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the blurb really had me, it sounds exactly like something I would enjoy, but connection to characters is so much more important to me these days than plot alone. Pity it didn’t work for me, I see there is a whole series, but I’m not invested enough to read another.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I’d have the exact same reaction.

        Liked by 1 person

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