I’ve been excited to read this book since I first heard about it, so when I was offered a copy for review, I absolutely couldn’t resist! The cover is just the beginning of a very well put together novel here!
And I mean look at it. Such an amazing cover.
Anyway, I did receive a free copy of this book and this is my honest review of it!
Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.
They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.
While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.
Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning.
Araxes’ streets were dangerous after dark, patrolled not by lawmen or soldiers, but gangs and what the Arctians affectionately called soulstealers. It wasn’t that they had no laws; just that with a city so huge, it was impossible to enforce them.
The city of Araxes is most well known for the thousands of indentured dead that populate it. Half a copper coin and some of the water of the Nyx river are enough to bind the soul of a person who died of some sort of trauma to whomever holds half of the copper coin used in the ritual. The rich of Araxes collect these coins, and their shades, and use them as slaves for anything from housecleaning to building and so on.
This is the story of Caltro Basalt, who is a master locksmith (read: thief) who is hired by a mysterious stranger to come to the city of Araxes for an unspecified job. Of course, with Araxes being what it is, he barely makes it halfway to his destination within the city before he’s murdered, enslaved, and then sold to a wealthy noblewoman.
We see this story from several points of view, as different things are going on in different areas of the city. We see it from Boss Temsa, who is the leader of the soulstealers who killed and enslaved Caltro. He’s trying to move up in the world. We see it from Nilith, who is a woman dragging a corpse behind her across the desert. She’s looking to get it to Araxes and bind the soul within to her before the time she has to do so runs out. We see it from Sisine, the Empress-in-Waiting, who is currently the voice of the emperor, her father, who has locked himself in his sanctuary in order to protect himself from people who want to kill him to take the throne. She’s uh… looking to kill him to take the throne. ^_^
Caltro’s POV is the only one of these that is in first person, and I have had a pretty good string of books with narration like this in a row, so I’m pretty used to it by now. It gives a little something to the story that makes it definitely center around Caltro, while still having other characters bringing their own exploits into the overall story. I’m finding that I really like stories that are told in this way lately, so I thought this was very well done! 😀
I thought this was a fantastically written story, with plenty of twists and turns, grim happenings but also humorous parts as well. I liked Caltro and cared what happened to him in the end (even though he’s dead >.>). The ending left me absolutely clamoring for more, so I’m lucky that Grim Solace comes out soon! 4.5/stars!~