Wednesday, June 17, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.

Time for something fast-paced and fun. After reading Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell, I was eager to get to Book Two in the Greatcoats Series: Knight’s Shadow.

I don’t want to spoil Book One, so it’s a bit tricky to move on with a summary of the plot. However, we pick up with the adventures of Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the now disbanded and all but defunct Greatcoats of the late King Paelis of Tristia and his compatriots, Kest (best swordsman in the universe) and Brasti (best archer and rogue.) They are still determined to carry out the wishes of the king; however, the wishes remain a bit foggy and are, at any rate, impossible.

Falcio barely survived the final encounter of book one which involved poison. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem he will outlast the poison’s effects. So, the race is on. The enemy, Duchess Trin, as well as the Dukes who are rallying to her cause, are determined to stamp out any last resistence to their rapacious governance–meaning the Greatcoats. Kest and Brasti are having troubles of their own. New recruits to Falcio’s cause are of unreliable competence or dubious loyalty. And Falcio has his own demons to overcome–in addition to the fact that he’s dying.

Generally, the second book in a series serves as a bridge between the wonderful book one that draws readers in and the third book that is either the grand finale or else the book where things really heat up. But in this case, the whirlwind adventure was even more exciting than Traitor’s Blade and the solidification of the friendships and exploration of the characters’ psyches made it an even more satisfying read. It does get darker, with elements of torture, graphic rape, and sadism that were uncomfortable to read, but by that point in the story this was an integral part of the plot and the scenes were relatively short–short enough to skim over and get the gist of what was going on.

I understand this is to be a four-part series and I eagerly await the next installment. I love "buddy" stories and these three swashbucklers fit the bill with their loyalty to one another, humor, and dedication to their cause. For fans of fantasy, action/adventure, give Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats Series a try!

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