I was lucky enough to read an ARC of the self-pubbed version of this one, and so when I was given the opportunity to read this version, which has had some edits and rewrites, I jumped on it! I remember loving it just as it was, but it can only get better, amirite?
So thanks to the author, as well as Orbit via NetGalley for the review copy!~
Into Kisia’s conquered north, a Levanti empire is born.
Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e’Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returned from the dead it will challenge all she thinks she knows and everything she wants to believe.
Now empress of nothing, Miko is more determined than ever to fight for her people, yet with her hunt for allies increasingly desperate, she may learn too late that power lies not in names but in people.
Rah refused to bow to the Levanti emperor, but now abandoned by the Second Swords he must choose whether to fight for his people, or his soul. Will honor be his salvation, or lead to his destruction?
Sold to the Witchdoctor, Cassandra’s only chance of freedom is in his hands, but when her fate becomes inextricably linked to Empress Hana, her true nature could condemn them both.
There is no calm after the storm.
Already the air held none of its summer heat, and the damp linen against our skin left an uncomfortable chill.
You’re used to having more padding.
“Padding? What am I, a chair?”
This one starts off almost immediately after the events of We Ride the Storm. Miko is on the run, her empire shattered into fragments. Rah is also on the run, after refusing to bow to the Levanti Emperor who conquered part of Kisia. Cassandra has been sold to the Witchdoctor, and finds herself in his custody with Emperess Hana, being experimented on. Cassandra’s willing to just go along with it, because the Witchdoctor may be the only person in the world that can help her get rid of the extra voice in her head. We also get POV chapters from Dishiva e’Jaroven, the commander of the new Levanti Emperor’s Imperial Guard. She’s doing her new job to the best of her ability, but there are some pretty shady shenanigans going on, and it’s up to her to figure out who is murdering pilgrims coming into the city. I really latched onto Dishiva and her story. It was really compelling, and I found myself reading on well past bedtime just to get more of it.
Cassandra and Hana are like polar opposites. One is very proper, like an empress should be, and the other is very not-proper, as an assassin/prostitute would probably be. Nevertheless, the relationship between Hana and Cassandra grew on me, because they both decide to make the best of their situation and just roll with whatever comes their way.
Rah finds himself with a new companion on his flight from the Levanti Emperor’s dungeon. I really enjoyed how the relationship between them developed, especially considering that there is a good chunk of their journey together in which they don’t speak the same language.
I loved this book just as much the second time as I did the first. Maybe a little more! The story was basically the same as I remembered, but all the same it felt fresh and new. It was fantastically written, and the pacing was nice and brisk and had me reading into the wee hours. There were bits that I had forgotten that surprised me yet again. I’d also forgotten the big reveal nearer to the end, and so I found myself asking the same question I had the first time around: what’s in the box? What indeed, We Lie With Death. What indeed.
This was a great addition to a great series and I cannot wait to get We Cry for Blood into my eyes. If you haven’t had a chance to read We Ride the Storm, run don’t walk. This was a fantastic follow-up! 5/5 stars!~