The Aching God by Mike Shel

The Aching God was a fantastic book. I’d heard some really good things about it but hadn’t had a chance to read it, so when the audiobook released last week I jumped on it straight away. First off, Simon Vance does an amazing job with the narration. Second, Mike Shel does a fantastic job writing the book.

The Aching God is set in a world where people frequently visit ancient temples to find treasure and ancient artifacts. One such expedition bought back an ancient artifact which is now causing a plague. A retired adventurer, Auric Manteo, is called back to return the artifact because basically everyone else is deathly ill, and thus begins the journey.

The world itself seems to be against Auric and the band of adventurers. At every turn, something or someone fights against them, and the journey to the ancient ruins is long and difficult. As such, the plot pretty much follows the adventurers on a quest sort of story, but there are plenty of twists, turns, and intrigues to keep the reader very interested in the book.

One of the really amazing parts of The Aching God is the worldbuilding. Mike Shel does some really great stuff here. Most people have a patron god who they call on to give them strength, magical abilities, healing powers, and a multitude of other things depending on which god they follow. There are some very interesting political machinations going on in the background: churches vying for more power, insane royals, and plenty more.

The characters are also really interesting. Some have previously experienced horrors in the tombs of ancient gods and it has seriously changed the way they view the world. It’s quite evident how the characters change over the duration of their journey.

I really enjoyed The Aching God, and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys:

  • Quest fantasy
  • Worldbuilding
  • Tomb Raider
  • Grimdark fantasy

I also highly recommend listening to this book if you enjoy audiobooks. Simon Vance is an amazing narrator and my only issue with any of the narration is that it would occasionally remind me of characters from Lightbringer which Vance also narrates.


  1. Enjoyed the heck out of this one too, one of my top reads of the year. There’s some genuine scares during a few sequences — Shel is especially good at evoking a moody and threatening atmosphere.

    I also liked how it felt like a standalone novel, with just enough threads left open for the sequels. A satisfying read.


  2. […] The Aching God by Mike Shel (audiobook) – This was a really well-written dungeon crawl type of book. Reminded me a lot of what I’d expect from a tabletop game and had really compelling characters, great worldbuiling, and a fantastic storyline. Simone Vance narrated the audiobook amazingly well. […]


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