Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell is the sequel to Traitor’s Blade, the start of a dark and humorous fantasy series features three fighting friends, a corrupt country lacking a king, a whole lot of work to do. I quite enjoyed Traitor’s Blade, so imagine my surprise when I found myself really not enjoying Knight’s Shadow :-/. What I’ve decided is that Knight’s Shadow moved the focus away from what I enjoyed in Traitor’s Blade to what I didn’t much care for, so it just wasn’t going to be a sequel to work for me. There are spoilers below for book one, so check out my review of Traitor’s Blade instead to be safe if you haven’t read it!
Note: I received an advanced copy of Knight’s Shadow from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Knight's Shadow by Sebastian de Castell (Greatcoats #2)
Published by Quercus on June 2nd, 2015
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 600 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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A few days after the horrifying murder of a duke and his family, Falcio val Mond, swordsman and First Cantor of the Greatcoats, begins a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland.
- I’ve always been intrigued with the saints in this world and Knight’s Shadow continues to develop the lore around them nicely. Of course, having a new saint walking around with Falcio helps greatly in revealing all sorts of interesting aspects to sainthood, but there are a couple of other saints that make appearances as well!
- There continues to be a mystery surrounding what the King actually wanted all the Greatcoats to do and I enjoyed the revelations that we found out with that. Particularly it was interesting to see Falcio’s impression of the King shift as more and more was revealed though not in the direction I would have expected ;-).
- Despite the main characters being three guys, they are joined with several strong women in Knight’s Shadow. These women may not have the same kind of Greatcoats training as the boys, but they are freaking tough enough and brave enough to make do!
- Now we get into the aspects of Knight’s Shadow that I really didn’t like. Knight’s Shadow finds a way to repeat the rape of Falcio’s wife again in even more graphic detail. I understand the justification for it in the plot, but still wasn’t happy to see it become such a focus all over again.
- On top of that, the female villain has some freaking crazy sexual violence fetishes and just makes everything all the more ridiculously triggering and uncomfortable.
- To add even further to the incessant sexual violence, a woman volunteers to be brutally raped and brutalized as part of a deal with a character I had up to that point had a fair amount of respect for. Up until he freaking agrees to this deal because WTF who doesn’t want to commit sexual violence against a random woman?!?!?
- Knight’s Shadow seemed to have a major middle book syndrome problem in that EVERYONE is in crisis and can’t get their shit together. Every page felt like someone was whining about the thing they are upset about in this book, and it just got to be too much.
- I honestly found Knight’s Shadow to be painfully slow for the majority of the middle. Things were happening, but the pacing just didn’t click and I didn’t care about turning the page to find out what was going to happen next.
- One of the highlights of Traitor’s Blade was definitely the humorous banter between the three guys. However, I couldn’t identify one humorous moment in Knight’s Shadow to off set the horribleness. This just wasn’t what I signed up for ya know?
Knight’s Shadow will be a sequel that many will love, especially if you enjoy grimdark fantasy. However, it is missing everything I enjoyed about book one, so it just didn’t work for me. Depending on how you like your fantasy, you will either love or hate Knight’s Shadow and that is simply for each individual to decide. I, however, probably won’t be reading book three given the direction this series is going.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.