Book Review: Mud (Chronicles of the Third Realm War Book 1) by E.J. Wenstrom

As a golem, Adem has spent his entire immortal life forced by his maker to guard over a mysterious box and kill anyone who touches it, but all Adem really wants is to be human. When an angel comes to Adem, offering him a soul, and thus his humanity, in exchange for bringing back the angel's love from the Underworld, Adem decides to take the risk, not realizing the consequences his actions could have on the entire realm.

Book Review: Mud (Chronicles of the Third Realm War Book 1) by E.J. Wenstrom | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, fantasy, high fantasy, metaphysical/visionary, golems, paranormal, supernatural
Title: Mud
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 253
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free eARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I really like books about uncommon supernatural creatures, so, when I saw this one had a golem as the protagonist, I jumped at the chance to read it.

The funny thing is, Adem is a golem, something that plays a huge role and has a major effect on the story, but he’s one of the most human characters I’ve ever read about. This was definitely a character-driven book, which is what I like, and though I didn’t necessarily relate to him, he was a character I really empathized with. This poor character, everything he tried to do ended up going so wrong, and I just felt for him. All he wanted was to be human so that he could stop hurting people, and I couldn’t blame him for that. Even when he was being selfish and in denial, it tugged at my heart strings and I couldn’t even be mad because I understood.

I also loved the relationship between Adem and Jordan, a child he saved. Adem was so protective of Jordan, and Jordan was so understanding of Adem, and they just made this really adorable team, something we didn’t get to see a lot of in this book but might get more of in the next book.

The story itself was also well thought-out. Everything made sense, and the information about the realms and the gods was explained in a way that was easy to understand (even for someone like me who doesn’t read many books in this genre). I also thought the portrayal of the Underworld was interesting and especially enjoyed that portion of the book. There were also some twists that kept me on my toes, completely unsure of who to trust, and tension that built up nicely toward the end.

I would’ve liked to get to know the side characters a little more since I found some of them really likeable (e.g. Jordan) and others interesting (e.g. Abazel), but other than that, I really don’t have any complaints. I think it was just one of those books that didn’t quite fit me  and my reading preferences personally (it’s classified on Amazon as paranormal and dystopian but seemed more high fantasy and metaphysical to me), hence the rating. Overall though, I did enjoy this book, and I think anyone who is more into these genres will enjoy it even more than I did!


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  1. Lola

    Great review! Just like you I like books with uncommon supernatural creatures, so the fact that this has a golem also would’ve goten my attention. I don’t think I’ve read any or many books with golems. It’s so sad when everything a character does goes wrong and I can’t help feeling sorry for them. I like the sound of how character driven this book is as I usually like that.

    This is not a genre I read much of either and I am not sure if I would enjoy this one, I like the sound of some aspects, but the visionary or the underworld thing I like less. The cover does screams dystopia and would be my first thought if I only had seen that. But the epic ness, big scale and save the world thing of the story does sound more high fantasy, so to me it sounds like your genre indication fits more. If I am correct authors can decide which genres they list the book on amazon and which genres they list it on can help or influence sales and such, so maybe it’s a marketing ploy to list it like that?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I did love the golem aspect. And it was super character-driven. I actually liked the whole Underworld thing, but I’m not crazy about too much inclusion of gods and religion in books, even made up religion. It’s not that it bothers or offends me, it simply doesn’t really interest me. I don’t know. It was hard to put my finger on why I couldn’t rate this higher. I think the publisher chose the genre listing for this one though. But listing books under different genres for marketing doesn’t seem like the best strategy because you want the people who DO like the genre of the book to find it, you know? But my classification could just be wrong since it’s not like I’m the genre expert lol.

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Omg this sounds AMAZING. :O And narrated by a golem who wants to be human??!?! Aww. I can definitely see what that’d pull the heart strings. Those names sound really amazing too. I LOVE COOL AND MEMORABLE NAMES.
    Fantastic review, by the way. 😉 I am very much convinced, hehe.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! Glad you liked it 🙂 And yes, it was very awwwww-filled because I felt so terrible for him and wanted to give him a big hug at numerous points throughout the book!

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    Great review, Kristen. This isn’t really *my* genre either but I’m intrigued. Funny, my kids and I were just talking about golems yesterday at breakfast. I don’t even remember what prompted the discussion but I was telling them that I’d read Snow in August by Pete Hamill many years ago – there’s a golem in that book. And if I hadn’t read it, I wouldn’t have known anything about golems. But then I read a YA book that had a golem in it. My son has read a series that a golem as a character.
    Okay, so I kinda went off track there…I’m very curious about Adem and how he wants to be human, and how you described him as the most human characters you’ve ever read about. So I’ll put this one on my ‘might read some day’ list.

    1. Kristen Burns

      What a coincidence! I only knew about golems because they were in a couple other books I’d read, except, in those books, they were just obstacles for the protag to get around, not actual characters in the books. I’m curious, what YA book did you read that had a golem? I didn’t realize there were so many books about golems out there!

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    Swoon by Nina Malkin is the book I was talking about. The Bartimaeus Trilogy is the series my son read. But in Swoon, the golem is a character. And as I was just looking it up, I discovered there’s a sequel entitled Swear. Hmm…I may have to check that one out. It’s been 6 years since I read Swoon, but I liked it. 🙂

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