Book Review – Knight’s Shadow (Greatcoats #2) by Sebastien de Castell

Bloggos,

You might not recall, but I listened to the first Greatcoats book back in December to help me through a pretty terrible migraine. You might want to read my review for Traitor’s Blade before you continue on with this one.

So, yeah. You might have noticed that I started reading Knight’s Shadow back in JANUARY. You might also have noticed how it went from my “Currently Reading” shelf on Goodreads to my “To Read” shelf, pretty quickly. Turns out, these books are audio or bust. I could NOT get into the story in a hard copy at all. I kept telling myself I’d get around to the series again, but months went by before I renewed my Audible subscription and found myself listening to Falcio’s story again.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

knight's shadow

This book picks up right where the last one left off. Falcio, still suffering from the Dashini poison, Kest, and Brasti are at the Tailor’s camp with her Greatcoats and Aline. It’s a peaceful momnet, but it’s the Greatcoats. Peace doesn’t last long with these three.

An ambush by Trin’s soldiers forces the Tailor’s hand, so she sends Falcio, Kest, and Brasti off to secure Ducal support for Aline’s bid for the throne. Because, you know, the Dukes just loooooove the King’s Greatcoats. And so starts the doomed adventure.

What I loved:

  • Characters!!! I love Falcio, even when he’s being a big dummy, which is the majority of the time in this book. I love Brasti, the Bastard, and all his snark and arrogance. And I LOVE Kest. He’s so loyal to Falcio, funny in his own understated way, and just generally talk, dark, and broody. I can’t help but love him. But, this book did a wonderful job of making like even more characters than before. Valiana really came into her own in this one, and Falcio’s wife, Aline has some on screen time to make me love her too.
  • The world. Tristia is a complex place with tons of political intrigue, which I love. We got to see more of the small towns and villages in this book, which was a nice change from all the time spent in Rijou in the last book.
  • The narration. Again. Joe Jameson does a wonderful job giving voices to such a large cast of characters and making me care about all of them. I rarely wonder who’s talking, and if I do it’s usually because it’s a new character. I’m pretty sure I’d give anything Jameson narrated a listen, because he’s that good.

What I didn’t love:

  • The plot? I mean, it was fine, but it was really predictable for the most part. I knew who was behind the assassination attempts pretty much immediately. Again, as in the first book, a lot of the story hinges on Falcio not understanding or realizing what’s happening until it’s too late.
  • ******SPOILERS*********SPOILERS************SPOILERS************SPOILERS
  • The rape sequence. It was bad enough hearing about what happened to Falcio’s wife in the first book. In this book, Falcio is tortured with magic and forced to relive the horrible moment as if a fly on the wall in the room in which it happened. It was awful, which I get is the point, but Trin is there and experiencing it with him and finding pleasure in it…. it was gratuitous and made me very uncomfortable. Which, again, is probably the point. My point is, IT WAS AWFUL AND UNCOMFORTABLE and I couldn’t skip over it because I listened to the audiobook. Listeners beware.
    *****END SPOILERS***END SPOILERS***END SPOILERS***END SPOILERS***

There’s more to love here than there isn’t. Kest and Brasti both have big story arcs and undergo a lot of growth. Falcio does too in his own way, I just hope he’ll be smarter in the next one. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if he weren’t touted as this brilliant strategist. The man with a plan. Brasti says time and again, “and he’s supposed to be the smart one!” I’m with you, Brasti. I’m with you. It’s largely why I gave the book a four star rating and not five. Just like with the first one, I found Falcio’s ignorance too convenient, or the plot twist not twisty enough to warrant the fifth star. Still, there are WAY worse books out there, and I still love these goofy, sad, hopeless boys. Especially Kest. Did I mention that?

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Replace the daggers with a bow, and this is basically Brasti.

I’ve got the third book, Saint’s Blood, queued up on Audible but I haven’t started listening to it yet. I finally gave up on Revenger and moved on to the new Rivers of London book, The October Man. I’ll probably finish it tonight. Then I’ll start something new, probably by V.E. Schwab since I have two of her books laying around waiting to be read.

So yeah. Lots of reading ahead. It hit 100º today, which is WAY too hot for this early in the season, so I expect I’ll be indoors even more than usual. Good thing I have all these books waiting to be read!

Talk at you soon, Blogland!

 

BZ

 

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Book Review – Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoats #1) by Sebastien de Castell

I didn’t plan on reading this book this year. I got it for free on Audible months ago, almost as an afterthought. It was a moment of, “I have an extra credit, what the hell do I get?” Browse, browse, browse… “Ooooooh! I keep meaning to read that!”

Well, courtesy of a powerfully nauseating migraine on Monday and Tuesday, I finally listened to it. Yep, all thirteen hours in two days. Mainly because I was confined to my bed thanks to unabating queasiness, but also because I enjoyed it that much.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

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This story is strongly reminiscent of The Three Musketeers, but less the book and more the Disney adaptation. You know, the one with Oliver Platt as Porthos, but if it had an R rating. Actually, now that I think about it, can I get that remake? Please?Image result for porthos gif oliver platt

But, really, there are a lot of similarities here. Falcio val Mond, the disgraced First Cantor of the now disbanded Greatcoats, has seen worse days. Though, by any accounts, failing to prevent the murder of the man you’re supposed to be guarding is hardly a good day. Especially when he hasn’t paid you yet. That’s how the former Greatcoats, the dead King’s judiciary force, start this adventure: on the run from a murder they didn’t commit.

Kest and Brasti follow Falcio because, well, honestly, what else would they do? The whole country hates the Greatcoats, has branded them traitors, so they might as well stick with their best friend and eke out a living. But that all changes as they rush to escape the city and take a job guarding the first caravan that would take them. And like any good story, the Greatcoats flee one sort of trouble only to tumble into trouble of another kind. Namely, foiling the plot of the evil and greedy Duchies to unite the kingdom under a false monarch.

What really impressed me about this book was the relationship between Falcio, Kest, and Brasti. They are brothers, well and truly. They care for one another, they tease each other, and they fight with and for one another. Their dynamic was everything to me as I listened to this book.

It didn’t hurt that the plot and world-building were pretty great too.

So, why not five stars? Well, I figured out the big twist really quick. Like, before it was even actually hinted at. But, the narrator (Falcio) kept on not realizing it until the very last chapter of the book. He’s supposed to be smart y’all, and he couldn’t figure it out, while everyone else around him (myself included) did.

That loses a star at minimum. Thank goodness I liked the characters, setting, and the narrator so much! This is the part where I mention how wonderful Joe Jameson’s narration was and how sad I am to have to read physical copies of the rest of the series, since the library doesn’t own the audiobooks. He’s apparently quite the prolific narrator, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for other projects of his.

Image result for falcio val mond

I’m just now tucking into the next book, Knight’s Shadow, but hopefully I can make good progress on it. I’m sure it won’t take too long, but with the holidays expect an early 2019 review on this one.

I’ll be back on Christmas Eve with the usually Goals Summary!

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ