Hey all, Dani here.
Let me just take a moment and be really excited about how well I’ve been doing with getting these posts up regularly. Today’s post makes 24 days in a row with a post, which is awesome, and it’s something I have missed doing. When I started posting daily, I couldn’t believe how much my blog was growing. It’s nowhere near the impressive follower and interaction levels as a number of amazing blogs, but compared to my previous blog attempts this one is vastly impressive to me. I’m getting close to 900 followers, which is something that my mind hasn’t fully begun to grasp, because then I’m fairly close to 1000 followers. So to all of you who have followed my blog and who have liked and commented on posts…thank you.
Anyway, today was my last day of work for the week. I had used one day of bereavement out of the three days I’m allotted on the day I found out my grandpa had passed away. His graveside funeral service will be Monday, so I get tomorrow and Monday off as my other paid bereavement days. I’m trying to keep myself busy so I don’t dwell too much on it. In a weird way, it’s quite fitting. I started this blog back in 2016, while on bereavement for my paternal grandma, so to have a couple days off work…where I will do a little bit of tidying up the house and likely some more blog prep now for my maternal grandpa’s bereavement…I don’t know. It’s a weirdly nice thought to have.
Okay, apologies for all the personal talk, but I feel like certain important behind the scenes things need to be shared, just in case it effects the normal online interactions or post schedule or the tone of posts or whatever. Let’s go ahead and jump into today’s review.
Stephen’s god died on the longest day of the year…
Three years later, Stephen is a broken paladin, living only for the chance to be useful before he dies. But all that changes when he encounters a fugitive named Grace in an alley and witnesses an assassination attempt gone wrong. Now the pair must navigate a web of treachery, beset on all sides by spies and poisoners, while a cryptic killer stalks one step behind…
From the Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of Swordheart and The Twisted Onescomes a saga of murder, magic, and love on the far side of despair.
Rating: 4 stars
This was a difficult book to rate for me honestly. If I was basing it purely on the first chapter it would be a 5 star read. That first chapter was such an intense way to open a story…with the death of a god and seeing how that moment hit and how it affected the god’s paladins. As someone who for the most part plays clerics and paladins in D&D, this event was so captivating and intriguing.
Then there was the next 40-ish percent of the book…which I would honestly give a 3 star rating. It wasn’t bad but it didn’t feel all that eventful, and it was a whole lot of Stephen being attracted to Grace but not really acting on it, and Grace being attracted to Stephen but not really acting on it, and mostly just being focused on their inner thoughts and feelings as we got a firm understanding of the characters and the world and a bit of the story.
The last chunk of the book…probably from 55% on…was pretty good…I’d say probably a 4-4.5 stars. Action and plot really started to happen, the loose wandering plot threads began to weave together, and things really started to get interesting.
I did love all of the scent descriptions thanks to Grace being a craftswoman of perfumes…although I don’t think she needed to constantly bring up and fixate on Stephen smelling like gingerbread. Grace mentioned it at least one time every time she was near him, and even sometimes when she was just thinking about him.
Stephen was really interesting. A muscled and strong paladin who has been through a lot considering that he literally lost his god, so it is like losing a piece of himself, a piece of his soul. So he and his brothers and sisters (by that I mean his fellow paladins), have had to find a way to keep going and have basically volunteered themselves to help out another god and the people who serve him. And Stephen’s hobby is…knitting, particularly socks, but he also has at least one half-knit sweater. I thought that was a fun character element to throw into the story.
There was some conflict as two different religious factions struggled with each other. There was some political intrigue. There was murder and mystery. There was plotting and treachery. And there was romance. This book overall had a lot going for it. I can definitely see the potential for a nicely sized series, especially if each book follows a different one of the Saint of Steel’s paladins, as there are seven remaining.
I will probably end up picking up the next book in the series…and will probably even get myself the paperbacks so I can have them on my shelf. Plus, I think the second book follows Stephen’s paladin brother Istvhan.