The Anticipation has arrived.
It’s been hundreds of years since the last, and now believed to be myth. But as the Twelve—gods cast out of their realms by the High Father as punishment for their sins—appear in Aos, its people are overwhelmed by the presence of their gods. Each god, split into the Aspects of four personalities: Apathy, Arrogance, Hedonism, and Lies. Each Aspect, burdened with a mortal anchor, a person intended to improve those undesirable facets, to purge it from their very essence, before the god can ascend again to their realm.
Rhagos the Undying, Lord of the Dead, has returned to his place in the Underworld. He discovered that this time, the High Father decreed that one anchor will remain with each god until the next Anticipation. The god known as Death is displeased with the sniveling fool anchored to him—and he’ll do anything to get what he really wants.
An illicit bargain with the Fates returns Rhagos to the beginning of the recent Anticipation. Death is not above cheating, after all.
Maxine (Max) Chavez, a corporate assistant and gamer from Earth, stumbles upon a portal to Aos. What at first seems like an adventure turns into a waking nightmare as Max finds that in order to return home, she must be anchored to Death. She must survive attempts on her own life to help Rhagos overcome his other three Aspects by slaying their anchors.
And when they’re the last ones standing? Max must convince Rhagos to return her to Earth.
Sworn to the Shadow God is Ruby Dixon’s second entry in her Aspect and Anchor epic fantasy romance series. Reading the first book isn’t necessary (though I recommend it as well), as this book does a great job in introducing the reader to the strange circumstances of the Anticipation. Shadow God clocks in around 645 pages, which fly by as you’re transported to the eclectic world of Aos.
On the surface, Max is a naive and at-times annoying character, simply because you, as the reader, catch onto things that she misses until much later in the book. Most of her growth happens in the various ways she causes Rhagos to change and become a better god. Rhagos starts out as a selfish prick in the prologue, and while he’s still imperfect by the end, Max’s influence is seen through his awareness of how he can make a difference to the souls living in the Underworld. It’s an exciting journey to watch the pair overcome the many obstacles thrown against them, from hostile humans to angry magicians to poop ropes to the tattoos scrawled across Rhagos’s back and arms. (Yes, poop ropes. I highly suggest reading the author’s note at the end. It’s hilarious.)
Even Death gets lonely sometimes. Do him a favor and read his story.