Review: Tithed to the Dread Lord by Athena Grayson

Posted October 8, 2019 by Lola in Fantasy, Review, Romance / 6 Comments

Review graphic

Tithed to the Dread LordTithed to the Dread Lord (Strange Magics #1)
by Athena Grayson

My Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF

The Boneman will have his due…

When Niamne is tricked into delivering the yearly Tithe to the Dread Lord, she never expects to be part of the sacrifice. The last necromancer is a creature of terrifying legend, but the reality is more compelling than frightening, and very much a man.

Orphios finds better company with the dead than the living. One week of the year he takes the Tithe of goods and treasure and…other things…that keep the dead from rising from their rest. A sharp-tongued acolyte with a holy blessing that clashes with his magic was not part of the deal.

When the dead reject the Tithe, the ancient magical contract fractures. Niamne must choose–fulfill the contract and bring down the curse of her goddess on Orphios, or break it and unleash the restless dead on the world of the living.

Before the week is up, Orphios and Niamne must outmaneuver the treachery of town leaders and outwit the rules of the gods before the dead rise up and take matters into their own hands.

Slake your craving for gothic fantasy romance and enter the world of Strange Magics. Magic is capricious when hearts get involved.

My Review

I read and enjoyed a bunch of other books by this author, so I bought this book on release and promptly forgot about it for a while. Until now when I finally decided to pick this up. This was a great fantasy romance read with an interesting plot line and well done world building. It’s different from her sci-fi books, but I quite enjoyed this one too.

Tithed to the Dread Lord follows the story of Niamne and Orphios. This is a world with magic and gods, but also people who start believing less in the magics and gods. When it’s time for the yearly tithe to the dread lord, the council decides to give him less than what’s his due and instead of a full priestess they send Niamne, an acolyte, to deliver the tithe. She’s only an acolyte and doesn’t know the full truth about the tithe and the council’s scheme. Niamne then meet Orphios, the dread lord, and the two form a connection.

This is mainly a romance story, but it also has an interesting plot line surrounding the tithe and council’s plan. It has the quite the gentle pace, but it did keep my attention. I did feel at times that there was something missing to fully hook me and make me really care about these characters, but I can’t quite put my finger on what that something is. The setting underground felt a bit dark at times, but it also had it’s own appeal and the author definitely did a great job to give the underground setting it’s own appeal. And it was interesting how the dead have their own personalities and roles as well.

I liked Niamne and Orphios, although at first it’s a bit hard to get a full feel for their personality and I feel like they get more interesting the more we learn. Niamne comes from a farm family and is chosen as an acolyte, she doesn’t quite fit in and only late in this book you find out why. Orphios has a lonely existence as a the dread lord and I wasn’t sure if he would have chosen this life for himself. he didn’t have a choice in becoming the dread lord, but he does seem to do his job well. I liked how he acted around Niamne and how she helped him.

The romance between these two seemed to develop quite quickly, but it did feel realistic. I liked the way Niamne saw the true him and how Orphios slowly opened his heart to Niamne. They have some struggles to overcome and some misunderstanding, but in the end they both realize the truth about their feelings.

There is quite the exciting bit at the end, where everything comes to a head. Both the romance and the plot line surrounding the tithe and it was quite exciting to see how things unfolded and see the characters show their true feelings. The ending felt a little bit sudden and I would’ve loved to see an epilogue of how things go next, how Niamne and Orphios make a home together and also how the above ground world reacts now.

There are some interesting side characters even tough the focus is mainly on the two main characters. There are a bunch of dead characters that have an important role and one who speaks in sort of riddles, which were difficult to understand at times. I liked how the dead had their own personalities and also in how they reacted to Orphios. Then there is Nianme’s sister who also makes an appearance.

As I’ve come to expect from Athena Grayson’s books the world building is done really well in this book. From the magics, to the tithe, to the council who doesn’t believe in magic anymore. I really liked all the details and scenes where we see how the dread lord’s magic works. And also the magic of the flame and the hints of more of these types of magics and gods in the world. Even though these are the only two we see. I also liked how all magic comes with a price.

To summarize: Tithed to the Dread Lord is an unique fantasy romance book. Both the romance and plot surrounding the tithe captured my attention and I enjoyed reading this book. Niamne and Orphos are interesting characters and over the course of the book I felt like I got to know both better. I liked seeing them fall in love with each other. And there’s an exciting part at the end were both the romance and story line come to a conclusion. There are some interesting side characters among the dead and living. I especially liked the world building, which was done very well and I liked getting a feel for this world.

4 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads, Bookbub and Amazon.

What’s the last fantasy romance book you read?

Tags: ,

6 responses to “Review: Tithed to the Dread Lord by Athena Grayson

  1. You’re right! That does have an intriguing storyline with the mythology and the focus on how the tithe works along with how the people thought to manipulate things with that tithe. The couple sound good together the way they come to an understanding. I’ll have to add this one to my list.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Review: Cowboy Charming by Dylann CrushMy Profile

    • I hope you’ll enjoy it if you get around to reading it. It was quite the unique read and the whole mythology and focus on the tithe was intriguing and interesting to see how it all played out. And the romance was well done too.

  2. Hmmm definitely different from your typical fantasy – I find the mythology and the tithe situation very intriguing. I may have to give this one a read. Great review Lola!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.