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Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell eARC {2 Stars}

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.

This book has adult content.
Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell eARC {2 Stars}

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.

2 Stars


  • 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.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Only okay? *sigh* I LOVED Traitor’s Blade but I still need to read Knight’s Shadow (Kindle ebook is ridiculously expensive so I am waiting for the price to drop). I do not like the list of those weaknesses at all. Still I gotta give it a try…

  2. I’m still struggling with this one atm, but at least now I’m making some progress. I just can’t bring myself to DNF is but at the same time, it hasn’t been easy. I’m glad that I read your review because now I’ll be mentally prepared for some obviously majorly f-ed up stuff that’s going to go down O.O I’m definitely not enjoying this as much as the first book and I have to wonder what happened to make this one take such a drastic turn?! Sad.
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Let’s Discuss…(3)My Profile

    • Yeah, I’m honestly wondering if something happened in his life while he was writing to put him in such a different mindset D:

  3. I’m not typically a fan of grimdark stuff, but I still loved this book. I found that it wasn’t quite as enjoyable as the first, but it was still filled with enough awesome banter that much of the draw of the first book was still there, enough for me to like it. It did get a bit darker than I expected, and I wasn’t exactly a fan of the sexual violence (is anyone an actual fan of sexual violence?), but I still thought it was a pretty good book.

    But eh, to each their own. That’s half the fun of reviews! :)
    Bibliotropic recently posted…Falling in Love With Hominids, by Nalo HopkinsonMy Profile

    • Yeah for some reason the banter just didn’t hit the spot for me this time around D: I’m curious if I am just not in the right mood for it or if it changed a bit from the first book since I loved that banter! I completely accept that my reviews are subjective ;-)

  4. I’m really glad I saw this review because I’ve been interested in Traitor’s Blade, but there is absolutely no way I would enjoy this book. At all. And I have a problem with leaving series unfinished so…I won’t even start this one. Thanks so much for this review!
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…August TBRMy Profile

    • I’m so sorry D: But yeah, if I had known how dark it got, I probably wouldn’t have continued the series, though I’m fine with leaving things unfinished ;-)

  5. And I no longer feel bad about putting this one aside in favor of lighter, fun-er fare, like those two superhero books calling my name! Thanks for the heads up! :)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Updates: Law & SummerMy Profile

  6. Oh ouch, 2 stars. But the points in your weaknesses column are pretty spot on. I was also taken aback by some of the graphic sexual violence, not the content itself because certainly I’ve read far worse, but the fact that it was in a series like this. Book one was fun, adventurous, humorous – I expected more of the same in this but things took a surprisingly dark turn. I still liked this book, but not as much as I did the first one.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Audiobook Review: Departure by A.G. RiddleMy Profile

    • Exactly, if I had known going in and timed my mood right, it might have worked out, though I am rarely in the mood for dark fantasy these days haha

  7. That’s funny. The first book was ‘okay’ for me, but didn’t really wow me, and I only picked this up on a whim to see if it got any better. I ended up loving it, and counted it as one of my top 2 reads of the year so far.
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