I mean, Jesus Criminey.
Before I begin, those of you who have been around this blog for a while, know my review policy. For those of you who don’t, or who haven’t been around long enough, the short and sweet is; I will never give a book or movie five stars. It defeats the purpose of a review. How annoying is it to go into Amazon and see a five star review consisting of OH MY GOD THIS THING IS AWESOME (insert your own choice of spelling here). Conversely, one star reviews amount to the same thing. So, my rating system ranges from 1.5 to 4.5 with 4.5 being the highest I will ever give something.
And now you know.
I know, I know. Riley, you say, you NEVER give a book FIVE STARS.
Yes. This is true. It’s a rule of mine as outlined above. But here’s the thing, and let me explain. Actually, let me be honest. Two or three years ago my dear friend Shiri told me about a book by a man named Sebastien deCastell.
Yes, I told her, I’ll read the book.
I did not read the book. Because I’m dumb. Also because I didn’t make the time.
Making time is important, kids. You never know what you’ll miss. And my dumbass missed out on one of the best trilogies I have ever read.
Speed up two (or three) years and my other dear friend Jenny paid attention and actually read the books. Feeling left out and curious about what they were raving about, I picked up the first book in what was then a twosome, soon to become a trilogy.
Oh my God.
Oh my God.
Oh my God.
I was hooked. I gobbled Traitor’s Blade from the first page and immediately went to Amazon for Knights Shadow.
In one click I had the Precious. In six hours I fully realized I would have ONE WHOLE YEAR to wait for the next book.
So I waited
And I waited.
And I then I FINALLY had the Precious.
And in the course of a day and a half I was sobbing in my car waiting for the laundry to get done, devastated the book had come to an end.
Seriously, you guys.
This series, you guys.
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.
I’m pretty sure I’m secretly in love with Brasti.
I mean, I love all three of them, but Brasti is my favorite of the trio.
Saint’s Blood is one of those rare, special books which sinks you in and makes you regret coming back to reality when it’s done. That Sebastien has a way with words is an understatement to the talent contained within the pages. Saint’s Blood thrusts us once again with Falcio, Brasti, and Kest as their world is, once again, turned around, chewed up, and spit out. All through Tristia, Saints are dying and no one knows why, but each hand is pointed to the Greatcoats and the girl they would see put on the throne. But death and betrayal are nothing new to the Trattari. Already hated for betraying their King, blame for the murder of Saints is another notch on their considerably long bedpost. Except the Greatcoats aren’t killing anyone, and whoever is has set their sights on someone close to the Greatcoats. But our trio isn’t the same. Falcio is still recovering from the Lament, Kest is a shadow of his former self, and Brasti still doesn’t know how to shut up. Death lingers ever on the fringes, ready to sink its claws into our heroes and drag them down into forever. Only Tristia remains the same. Dark, fraught with strife and political upheaval, and just waiting for someone to start another war.
What follows is a ride straight into madness, with enough twists and turns to make a roller coaster jealous.
Saint’s Blood brings Tristia and all her characters, her politics, her religions, her drama to and lays her out like a dissected frog. All of her darkness unwrapped for the reader to ogle.
I was drawn in from the first sentence and played like a well-tuned violin, easily and willingly sunk into Tristia’s dark, malformed heart. As much as I wanted to make the book last, I had to know what happened next.
Sebastien deCastell is a master. He has built his world and what roles the Saints draw their swords (or bows) in to a T. Saint’s Blood is a merging of faith and reality. The way religion and politics are woven together make Tristia all the more real for the reactions of its people and what they do in the name of their God and their Saints. Sebastien holds nothing back and tears your heart out while doing it. There are plans within plans, schemes within schemes and no one inside Tristia’s borders is innocent. Well, maybe one or two, but we’re not going to talk about them. It hurts me too much. For the others, each character is a testament to Tristia’s changing climates and it seems as though the best and brightest of lights have the worst things happen to them. Only the strongest come out on the other side and, Jesus tap dancing Christ, Falcio, man. This freaking guy.
Fitting then, that Saint’s Blood is littered with humor of the dry, acerbic kind. Dark humor. Funny dark humor. The sort which makes you snort laugh.
Like a duel between master swordsmen, Saint’s Blood keeps you guessing what will come next. Each character moves across the page, caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse and for Falcio, putting the pointy end of his blade into the bad guy might not be enough this time.
Sebastien makes you feel for these characters, makes you root for them, and want to strangle them at the same time. He makes you laugh, makes you cry.
Very few authors can achieve this special sort of magic. I don’t know, exactly, how Sebastien deCastell does it, but I hope he never stops.
This man is forever on my pull list.
Pre-order your copy of Saint’s Blood today!
Seriously, you guys.