Review: Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords by Benedict Patrick

This one might be my favorite so far. ❤

Yarnsworld. Y U SO AWESOME?!

After finishing Where the Waters Turn Black, I couldn’t help but dive right into this one. I shuffled it up the TBR of Babel, as I am wont to do with series that I’m really digging. I just so happened to have an ARC of this one to do so with. So, thanks to Benedict Patrick for this great reading opportunity!

Don’t draw your blade in the City of Swords, unless you’re willing to kill… or ready to die.

Young and filled with idealistic fervor, Arturo packs his blade and travels to the fabled City of Swords in the hopes of joining the dashing Bravadori. Yet upon arriving he discovers these masked vigilantes have more in common with brutal thugs than noble monster slayers. Disillusioned and mocked, he stubbornly refuses to give up his dreams.

When an impending bandit attack threatens untold depravities upon a distant village, and no others will heed the call for help, Arturo joins forces with a worthless outcast and a walking legend to attempt the impossible, to traverse the demon-haunted wilderness and prove that in the City of Swords, true heroes can rise from the unlikeliest of places.

“I’m the only one who is living up to the promise I made when I first put this mask on. I promised to be a Bravador, to be a Queen’s Blade, dedicating myself to protecting her people. Who have you protected today?”

Guys. Guuuuys. I think this is my favorite in the whole series so far. Such a good story!

I love that these are short. They’re certainly novel length, but they stand alone and encompass their whole story in what (for me) ends up being a nice, lazy Sunday afternoon of reading. I love a book I can finish in a day. I love longer ones as well, but I prefer getting as much story into me in one sitting as possible.

Enter the Yarnsworld, a world of folktales come to life. This time we’re in the city of Espadapan, the City of Swords, home of the Bravadori. The setting of this one is… well, it’s pretty much Mexico, though it is hard to quantify exactly. I thought Spain at first (because Espadapan sounds Spanish AF), but no. Definitely more Mexico/Central America. Really wonderfully put together world here. The Bravadori are fencers, and they wear masks which they decorate based on their exploits or their special Bravadori names, like Crazy Raccoon, Sinister Crow, Preening Owl, and the like. It gave me the image of luchadores, rather than Zorro, even despite these masks being clearly described as domino masks, and the idea of the Bravadori being very Zorro-esque. They are men (and women- seemingly equally, so that was awesome) who have the Yarnsworld’s trademark Knacks for swordplay. They are tasked with protecting the innocent from the monsters that live in the area, like chupacabra and cadejo, as well as bandits and other rabble.

Except they don’t… really do that anymore. Not like the stories say they should. Now, Espadapan is more or less a city full of master fencers who lord themselves over everyone else and publicly brawl in the streets. Arturo, our main character, and a young man from outside the city who has his Knack and has dreamed his whole life of being a Bravador, unpleasantly finds out the truth of the situation not too far into his time within the city. But, it turns out that someone *does* need his help, and godsdammit, he’s going to go be the Bravador he always wanted to be. Adventures are had!~ Bonkers adventures in the Wilds of the Yarnsworld with all kinds of folklore on their tails!

This volume had way more swearing and crude humour in it than previous volumes (as it is quite different from other volumes), and I thought that it absolutely worked. Given the subject matter (a bunch of badass swordsmen being badass), I would expect more swearing and crassness from at least some of them. So, while some people are probably going to eventually point this out to complain about it, let me point it out to say: FUCKING FUCK YES! 👍 I APPRECIATE SOME NUNS WHO MAKE MISSIONARY JOKES.

It was fabulously written, full of awesome characters, twists and turns, and like all the other Yarnworld books, a short folktale in between chapters that sets up bits of the story. It was a great addition to the series. I also love that one particular character makes a small but noticeable cameo here (and in Where the Waters Turn Black), and I thought it was an awesome nod.


Guys, I can’t wait to see where this goes next. I love folktales! What will there be to come? Greek Mythology Yarnsworld?! Russian Folktales Yarnsworld?!?!?! Japanese Folktales Yarnsworld?!?!?!??! THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT!!!! 5/5 stars!


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