The Gutter Prayer v Analogue Set

Book: The Gutter Prayer
Author: Gareth Hanrahan
Published: 2019
Publisher: Orbit

While the rest of the world is little more than a playground for gods to act like children, endlessly warring in inconceivable ways, Guerdon stands alone as a godless bastion of relative ‘safety’. But it wasn’t always godless & things are beginning to stir in the city that haven’t been seen for a long time.

Guerdon might be neutral in the GodsWar but that doesn’t mean it is peaceful Utopia. One of its key functions is to provide the weapons to keep the wars supplied in the form of its Alchemical factories. Nor does its lack of living gods mean it’s a place without religion, if anything their removal provides the room for a more ardent calibre of theological practice.

Foremost though this book is bleak. The protagonists are three thieves loosely affiliated to a ‘guild’ who are not particularly pleased with them. You have a girl with a secret past, a young man with a disease which is gradually calcifying him, & a rat-like ‘ghoul’ who is a voluntary outcast from the mysterious tunnel dwellers who live beneath Guerdon & feed on its dead. When we meet them they are mainly trying to get by in an uncaring world, & avoid the attentions of the Tallow Men (‘living’ humanoid candles, complete with burning wicks, who make up the city’s police force).

If you’ve read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville you’ll get a similar vibe from Guerdon as from New Crobuzon. Both cities are filled with genuinely unique & weird creatures – sapient & not – but the plot reminds me more of the Raven’s Mark trilogy by Ed McDonald in that it is exceptionally bleak with just the right amount of hope that things might just work out in the end.

Beer: Analogue Set
Brewery: North Brewing Co.
Style: Hazy IPA
Strength: 6.7%

When the strength of a ‘hazy’ IPA gets above 6.5% I start to wonder whether it refers to the opacity of the beer or the state your head will be in the following morning. Regardless of philosophical ramblings, this is a damn good beer.

It has a lot of depth & if it was any thicker it would be chewy. Meaty even, which is saying something for an IPA. I get that might not sound appealing, but it should.

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