I’ve heard many good things about this book, and I couldn’t really help myself from jumping on board the hype train.
*toot toot* bitches, I have assimilated the hype!~
So to audible I went, because who can resist a well done audiobook (not me), and who had an audible credit (me, me, me!) and here we are!
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of the words. A girl with a story to tell.
Guys, I think I have to start out here by pointing out that this book has one of the best opening sequences that I think I have ever read in my entire life. No joke. That shit was brilliantly done. So of course the book just grabbed right on to my attention and never let go from there. There is a great deal of power in a good opener, especially when your readers may have a touch of the ADHD… of course, I certainly don’t hav-BRB I MUST CHECK MY EMAIL RIGHT THIS SECOND. *twirl*
Like I do with all books I read, I popped over to goodreads and had a quick gander at reviews. This time, the impression I got is that this is one of those books where you either love it, or you don’t. There’s not a great deal of those who are in the middle about it at first glance. It’s got a 4.2 average (at the time of this review), so lots of people love it, but the top of the first page of reviews is pretty unexpectedly heavy on the 1 star reviews, so a few did not. I am not daunted by bad reviews, in fact some one-star reviews are the ones that make me really want to read a book (“So much cursing! So crass!” is code for me to read that fucking book, for example). In this case, from what I could tell, some people don’t like the style. They call the prose heavy, or thick, or laden with metaphor. That’s fair. It is kind of those things in its way, and it’s okay not to like that. Whatever floats your boat.
I loved it tho. Love love fucking loved. ❤
The setting, the sort of Rome/Venice-feeling city of Godsgrave, and then the dark, cavernous Red Church was really well described and thus easy for me to imagine. This world of three suns which barely ever set was really well thought out and fantastically written. The characters were well done and I really cheered for Mia. There’s something to be said about cheering for a little girl to get her revenge on those who have hurt her and her family. The use of flashbacks to tell Mia’s story was well done. I loved her more and more as we went. I fucking love a foul mouthed rogue, and oh daughters… Mia has a mouth on her. She is the goddamned queen of sass. Things like “I appear to have misplaced the fucks I give for what you think” and the like which, once again, made me latch right on to this book and hug it and squeeze it. Good, sweary, sasstacular humour is win. A sassy, smartass shadow daemon for Mia to match wits with made it even better. Smartass hearts ❤ ❤ ❤
The narrator, Holter Graham, did a phenomenal job with this one, despite my doubts about having a male narrator tell a story wherein the main character is female, but no, he legit did it justice. There are a few instances in this story where emphasis needs to be put in a specific place in order to really get the idea of what is being presented to you. I can’t cite an exact example of this off the top of my head (and it’s really hard to save bookmarks in audiobooks for ease of looking up later) but suffice to say that he definitely nailed all such instances that I noticed. He does great accents, made Tric just bloody awesome to me right of the bat, and laid some serious goddamn emotion down when the story required it. He nailed it. Totally goddamn nailed it. That’s generally what you want in a narrator, I know, but I go through audiobooks like it’s my fucking job, and I can name narrators that I liked as much as this one on my fingers.
Another thing I enjoyed, and I say this with no fucking shame whatsoever because I will own the hell out of my love of sex scenes in fantasy novels- I have read a good deal of romance novels, hell… I’ve read a good deal of erotica, and have yet to find more satisfyingly sexy sex scene than one in particular featured in this book. If I’m reading a fantasy novel and cheering for the main character(s), I do a big round of mental applause if their romance includes them actually getting laid. In any case, oh my various fucking gods (pun probably a little intended), Mr. Kristoff. I tip my hat to you, sir. That first scene between them was a bit fucking glorious (but alas… I was at goddamned work at the time. #awkwardladyboner >.>).
Finally, I must say that the last 1/3 of this book nearly fucking broke me. Gods above and below, the emotional roller coaster that was. I very, very nearly had to give this one up, not because it was bad, but because I got way, way too fucking invested in these characters, and their backstories and trials and tribulations just… ruined my feels. Everything after that dropped a bomb on them. Fucking demolished them. I haven’t been this affected by a book emotionally since Red Rising. The combination of the story itself and Holter Graham’s presentation of it had me in goddamn tears (at work again FML #awkwardworkplacesobbing).
I MUST IMMEDIATELY READ THE SEQUEL!
So, by this time you can probably guess that I really, really loved this book. It is very similar in a lot of ways to Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister, and similar in other ways to Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora, so I recommend it heavily to anyone that liked either of those. Since those two books are among my favorites of all time, it’s pretty easy to say that this one is now too. Not because it is similar to others, but on its own merits and awesomeness. They all have similar themes in very different worlds. It’s got all the sass and cleverness that I loved about the other two and adds sex and shadow daemons and magical fucking libraries. What isn’t to love here?
Let me just… take a little time here to collect my bloodydamn feels that are shattered everywhere here. *sweep sweep*