by Sebastien de Castell
Amazon / Goodreads
How do you kill a Saint?
Falcio, Kest, and Brasti are about to find out, because someone has figured out a way to do it and they've started with a friend.
The Dukes were already looking for ways out of their agreement to put Aline on the throne, but with the Saints turning up dead, rumours are spreading that the Gods themselves oppose her ascension. Now churches are looking to protect themselves by bringing back the military orders of religious soldiers, assassins, and (especially) Inquisitors - a move that could turn the country into a theocracy. The only way Falcio can put a stop to it is by finding the murderer. He has only one clue: a terrifying iron mask which makes the Saints vulnerable by driving them mad. But even if he can find the killer, he'll still have to face him in battle.
And that may be a duel that no swordsman, no matter how skilled, can hope to win.
Review:As the third installment in the Greatcoats series, this novel takes a more mystical turn, as a new villain tries to take over Tristia and it's people. Falcio, considerably weakened as he is from the events in the last book, is such a deadly, persistent force in this one. His honor and determination, even when he's not sure why he's fighting so hard, makes him such an intriguing character for me. And I love that he also has a sense of humor in the direst of circumstances. Even though the last book had some dark moments, it gets even darker in this book, which made for excellent suspense and surprises.
The aspects of Saints and Gods were explored further, and while it made sense as a whole, it did seem a bit convoluted for me at times. The whole idea of which came first, and what kind of powers were bestowed on the Saints and what that means, is gradually revealed and was interesting, but I didn't love the mystical aspect as much. I think because it allowed for some convenient solutions. But the way that the religion in Tristia can feed on the greed of the masses and how it can corrupt even when it's supposedly for good intentions was very astute, and I really liked the commentary in that. Even more so in this book, the author reveals just how broken Tristia is, and it's not easy to bring back law and order to this land. I'm so curious to see how or if it can be saved in the final book.
Many of the characters are fleshed out even more in this novel, and I found the depiction of Falcio and Ethalia's relationship was especially good because it felt more realistic than the sort of love at first sight thing they had going from the beginning. Falcio still has issues with what happened to his first wife, and it's addressed further in this book, in a very heartbreaking way. Kest was also one that had a heartbreaking character arc, which was great to see because he was always more of the strong, silent character in the series. Brasti is just good fun, even when he shows that he does have some vulnerabilities. Quentis is a new character that didn't quite fulfill the role that I expected of him, given his initial interactions with Falcio, and I loved that there was more to him than meets the eye.
The writing in this book is so wonderfully done. I love the way the author describes duels and fights, and how this particular book begins and ends with an important duel and how the art of fighting is explained. It makes something so visceral and brutal, very poetic and intellectual. But that is a plus for the whole series so far. The writing is fantastic.
The Greatcoats series is definitely one of my favorite Fantasy reads, and Saint's Blood was an amazing installment. Exciting, fast-paced, and full of major twists - the finale to this series is absolutely my most anticipated book now!
(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.)
Note: I received an ARC from the U.K. publishers where "Saint's Blood" is already out in Europe, but unfortunately this wonderful book is out June 7th in the States.