Book Review: Sul: From Gold to Iron and Rust (2023)

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Sul: From Gold to Iron and Rust by Jacqui Davis and Katy Grierson

They had to go, these strangers, before they dug their claws into Cydric’s land.

I got a hardback copy of this and it’s absolutely STUNNING. The design is lovely and the colours are rich and vibrant. There’s a lovely map on the inside and several coloured illustrations throughout. I really loved all the artwork. You get to see the various characters and the scenery and the creatures. I loved the drawings of Aysel especially. Her eyes were super cool. (I was reading this alongside The Way of Kings, which has illustrations throughout too, and side by side they made for a beautiful set.)

Right, so Sul follows several characters: Aysel, Cydric, Elmes, Margo. There’s also Enoch and Damien, Ululani and Solomon. Each one is very different. Aysel is a demon usually in wolf-ish form; Cydric the priest, is deeply religious and protective of his homeland, and also best friends with Solomon, a vampire; Elmes is an arrogant colonialist and newly crowned king; Margo is a young royal who is drawn into the chaos because of her family’s wealth and position.

I thought the worldbuilding and religions and character dynamics were fascinating. It really reminded me of Sordaneon, actually. The opening of both is a murder in the royal palace and the MC becoming a successor. Both are viewed as magical, all powerful kings. (Side note: If you haven’t read Sordaneon, I definitely recommend it!) In Sul, Elmes is ‘given’ a territory by his uncle. After his uncle is murdered, he ventures north to claim the land and make it his own. He even names it after himself. When he arrives, the locals – namely Cydric – help him, but he quickly turns on them and casts them out of their own home. Elmes drove me up a wall, honestly. He’s very much a colonialist ruler, but thankfully the storyline doesn’t let him sit in charge throughout. Cydric, Aysel and others plot to overthrow him.

I thought the inclusion of vampires, demons and angels in an earth-world fantasy was really fascinating. It’s not a mashup I’m used to and it was a really original take on the genre. I’m very curious to see where book two takes the characters because the ending was such a cliffhanger! I can’t wait to find out what happens to Cydric, little Terrin and Aysel especially!

Thank you to the authors for a hardback copy of the book.


– The terminology is a little confusing for me, but that also happened with The Bone Season and Sordaneon, so I’m sure once I sink into it, it’ll all make more sense! I’m slow to understand epics at times, ha! (The use of never instead of no/not when it’s Elmes’ POV definitely took some adjusting to, although that could just be a me-thing.)
– The book is so thick my hands actually hurt reading it lmaoooo. But I don’t mind 😉
– I’m not sure I trust Ululani at all. She seems like she’s going to betray Elmes.
– I feel bad for Enoch.
– The characters seem to worship the sun (Sul), and call the king ‘His Radiance’, but they also talk about angels, which is interesting. It’s like a mixture of real world stories and fiction. Very interesting! And the names are also angelic: Enoch, Metatron, etc.
– I’m wondering what the implications are going to be for the people living in the lands that Elmes feels entitled to. Surely they’re not going to be happy?
– Enoch knowing a woman named Damien who can control demons took me by surprise.
– I’m finding Aysel and Cydric’s sections very enjoyable, but I’m really struggling with Elmes. His arrogance and ‘worship me’ and colonialist vibes are just maddening. Expecting Cydric and Solomon to treat him like a king when THEY RESCUED HIM and WELCOMED HIM INTO THEIR HOME?!!? And then he STEALS THEIR HOME?! Like fuck you, Elmes. You’re the actual worst.
– Aysel is probably my favourite so far. And I love the artwork of her! So cool!

Check out my master list of book reviews here, and my indie book reviews with the genres labelled here.

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