I can’t believe a year went by since I began my epic tantrum over the seemingly endless wait for the next book in Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series. I think having so many Robin Hobb books to read spoiled me a little because I wanted to read Saint’s Blood the minute I blubbered over the final word in Knight’s Shadow, and couldn’t imagine how I would possibly last the year. I did make it, though it was a burden every time I remembered it wasn’t April yet, and found myself scrabbling to NetGalley the moment I knew it was being offered by the publisher to reviewers. That being said, I received my electronic copy of Saint’s Blood from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It’s time for me to hold up my end of the bargain, so onto the review.
Falcio val Mond is tired, and honestly, who can blame him? It’s been a long life tempered by loss, brief stints of madness, and a seemingly endless fight for a country that doesn’t seem to care enough about itself to rise to join the battle. As a Greatcoat, one of Tristia’s legendary law enforcers, the very people Falcio continues to sacrifice himself to protect despise his very existence. Trattari, Tattercloak, and just about every other foul name they can muster is thrown at the feet of all Greatcoats who walks Tristia–given all that’s happened over the last few years there aren’t exactly many left.
While the nobility split hairs over their agreement to support young Aline, the only surviving heir of King Paelis, as she ascends to the throne, an even graver obstacle looms on the horizon. Someone has discovered how to kill the Saints that walk the land, and their first victim is a close, personal friend of the Greatcoats. Arriving at the ducal palace shortly after an exhausted Falcio nearly loses a duel, a strange madwoman clad in a horrifying iron mask breaks through, and it’s almost too late they realize she is no enemy, but a beloved Saint whose offered aid and comfort to the trio in the past.
Killing a Saint isn’t something anyone ever imagined possible, but as they offer their friend comfort in her final hours, the Greatcoats learn she is not the only Saint to fall to the darkest curse to touch Tristia pretty much since Trin’s birth. Saints are disappearing all over the land, and rising in their place a whole new evil: the God’s Needles. Mad with power, nearly unstoppable in their violent assaults, Falcio, Kest, and Brasti must discover who’s behind the this wretched plot, and time is of the essence because one of their beloved Greatcoats falls victim to the iron mask.
I don’t know if you read my review of Knight’s Shadow, or not, but I noted within I am in love with the noble ideal that one man, no matter how exhausted or pained, no matter how broken and distraught, no matter how blind and foolish, has the power to make his world a better place. Falcio is exhausted, he’s ready to throw in the towel at times because no matter what he does, someone is always standing in the way of his making the world a better place, and the toll it has taken on his soul is as painful as it is brilliant.
This book… I swear there are no words to describe how much I enjoyed every word of this book. The writing is clever and exquisite, each character voice unique and vibrant, and the relationships between the core characters is absolutely brilliant. Characters we’ve known since Traitor’s Blade have become precious imaginary friends, and when bad things happen to them (because, come on, if you’ve ever read these books you already know bad things ALWAYS happen to the people Falcio surrounds himself with,) it feels like a dagger jabbing into my heart.
I took my time with this book because I know another’s coming, and I know it will probably be at least another year, maybe longer, before I can read it (I’m dying inside, seriously,) but there were moments while I was reading that completely sucked me in and I couldn’t stop because I had to know my beloved imaginary friends were safe.
Highly recommended if you like adventure, dueling, tension, dueling, and wit with a twist of fantasy, oh and did I mention there’s some fabulous dueling. I give Saint’s Blood 5 out of 5 stars and find myself hoping de Castell decides he can’t possibly end this story and continues writing about the Greatcoats forever.
Saint’s Blood is currently available in the United Kingdom, and will release in the U.S. on June 7, 2016. I cannot wait until this is available in the U.S. so I can add the physical book to my collection and devour it all over again.
P.S. I think I might be in love with Kest, and I don’t care who knows it.