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url 2018-08-08 00:53
$2.99 Sale from Publisher Orbit (SF/F genre imprint of Hachette Book Group)
Jade City - Fonda Lee
Soul of the World - David Mealing
The Court of Broken Knives - Anna Smith Spark
The Fifth Ward: First Watch - Dale Lucas
Strange Practice - Vivian Shaw
The Tethered Mage - Melissa Caruso-Scott
Age of Assassins - R.J. Barker
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review 2018-06-12 00:00
The Court of Broken Knives
The Court of Broken Knives - Anna Smith Spark Rated purely on enjoyment this would be 2 stars for me, but it's well-written and will please many people who aren't me.

The prose is carefully crafted (sometimes too much so for my taste) and the plot is familiar: a political conspiracy, a young man with a destiny, and a beautiful woman trapped by circumstance. This is grimdark though - don't expect to root for any of the characters, and do expect buckets of gore (and dreamy descriptions of combat that are closer to stanzas crying for Blood! Death! DEATH!)

I enjoyed the political plot and the richly-described city of Sorlost, but the sleeper plot is that of the destiny of the well-born young mercenary who is a little too lucky - and too vicious - in a fight, and who is given to drowning his self-loathing in booze and drugs. Unfortunately I found little to interest me in his journey from green recruit to dark murderlord reborn.

Full review

I received a free copy from the author in return for an honest review.
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review 2018-02-06 20:53
The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark - My Thoughts
The Court of Broken Knives - Anna Smith Spark

This book was so damned dark and bleak...  Grimdark?  Oh my GAWD, it was freaking grim and dark to the nth degree!

Now I have no problem with grimdark fantasy.  I like characters with flaws and who aren't goodie-goodies.  This post on Fantasy Hive by Cameron Johnston, published just yesterday, reflects many of my own thoughts on the genre.  Needless to say, I don't believe that The Court of Broken Knives succeeds in any of it. There is nothing of hope, of love, of humour, or of anything other than death, blood, violence, sadness and hate.  Nothing redeeming at all!  I couldn't help but think that the author must have a couple of hundred tons of demons to work out on the page. 

Now, the writing is a bit different, it's somewhat odd.  For instance, there are a couple of 1st person POV chapters thrown into the 60 chapters of the book.  Why?  I'm not sure, but it didn't bother me.  It must have worked on whatever level the author was hoping it would.  And that's just one instance of something 'different' in the writing style.  I appreciated the difference though.  Wasn't a problem one bit. In fact it's one of the reasons I was able to finish the book, I think.  That, and the fact that it was a Christmas present and I always want to finish those.

But the characters... OMG... the characters.... not a single one left standing that I cared for.  And all the ones I thought I might get to like... eviscerated, burned up, squished, beheaded... you name it... 

So in the end... far too dark and irredeemable for me.  Depressing.  Not a story that enthralled me - it more appalled me.  

Not a fan. 

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