Seven Blades in Black (The Grave of Empires)

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The mages of the Imperium are at war with the non-magic-using Revolutionaries, and standing between them is an area known as The Scar, populated by innocents, outlaws, bandits, freemakers, spies, and magic-wielding rogues known as Vagrants. Some of those Vagrants are incredibly powerful, and others are cunning, opportunistic, lucky, or just plain mean. One of those Vagrants is known as Sal the Cacophony, and she’s got a bad attitude, an acid tongue, a gun that holds grudges, and a list of people she wants to kill.

Great fantasy novels often have epic storylines, monstrous evils, and memorable heroes battling incredible odds in order to save the day. It’s rarer for a great fantasy novel to also feature a serious bastard of a protagonist. But Seven Blades in Black manages to pull that feat off with gusto, so please join me in welcoming Sal the Cacophany into the hall of bastards wing of great fantasy fiction history.

This novel is populated with hilarious, sarcastic, opinionated characters, and those characters have been unleashed in a magical sandbox that is fascinatingly complex and hauntingly familiar. The setting leaps to life as Sal shares her story, ricocheting brilliantly between world-building, exposition, backstory, and plot progression whilst never once feeling like the story is dragging or even slowing down with each passing page.

Revenge is rarely as engaging, as hilarious, as satisfying, or as moving as it is in Seven Blades in Black.

Reviewed By:

Author Sam Sykes
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 704 pages
Publisher Orbit
Publish Date 2019-04-09
ISBN 9780316363433
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2019
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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