Traitor’s Blade by Sebastian de Castell is one of those fantasies that has only a smattering of magic but lots of banter, swordplay, and epic adventures. I knew going into to Traitor’s Blade that it would likely be a great book for me since I’ve seen so many positive reviews and I highly enjoy banter and swords. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was the amusing and unique narration from the main character, Falcio. Falcio has such a unique voice and a rather clever explanation for how the story came to be written down. Even though Falcio sometimes got on tangents while telling his tale, I never got bored since he was just so darn entertaining!
Note: I received Traitor’s Blade through Edelweiss for review consideration. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Traitor's Blade by Sebastian de Castell (Greatcoats #1)
Published by Jo Fletcher on July 15th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss, Publisher
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The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that's exactly what's happening.
Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they'll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor's blade.
- As I said above, the main selling point for Traitor’s Blade is the narration style in my opinion. Falcio has just the right level of smugness, honor, and optimism despite the horrible things that have happened to him. He jumps between time periods while telling his story, but I was never confused since he gives context as if he was telling me the story in person. I can see Traitor’s Blade being absolutely awesome to listen to on audiobook ;-).
- Traitor’s Blade at first seems to be set in a typical fantasy world with religion and magic happening in varying amounts in the background. Then one of the characters mentions a Saint and you do a double take since their saints are named quite creatively, like Saint Anlas-who-remembers-the-world. Every Saint is sainted because they embody some property to its extreme, for everything from swordplay to seduction. I would love a Guide to the Saints fictional non-fiction book!
- The plot of Traitor’s Blade bounces around a bit since Falcio jumps between the present and various important events of the past, but it flows well and of course has some delightful twists.
- Falcio has two best buds who fight with him, but also comes into the company of a number of other secondary characters who I quite enjoyed. Banter can’t happen without great secondary characters after all!
- As Falcio explains important events of the past and deals with the problems of the present, things get a bit dark at times. I appreciated that darkness, however, since it made Falcio’s fight in the present feel more important and emotional. I just want to hug him sometimes, sniff.
- I have to admit that I have a bit of a bone to pick with Traitor’s Blade. There is a scene where Falcio has just gotten away from a pretty bad situation and is quite beat up. A woman has rescued him and started treating his wounds. She then proceeds to start having sex with him despite his verbal protests. There is some implication that he is okay with it as things proceed, but at no point does he verbally agree and remember he is injured to the point of not being able to physically resist her either. This magic sex then goes a long way towards healing his injuries…. Can we all agree that healing rape is so not cool even if it is a guy getting raped??
- There are times when Falcio needs to explain some context in order for the reader to understand what is going on and he flirts with info-dumping at times.
- Beyond the rape mentioned above, there are other instances of rape and horrendous torture mentioned, so Traitor’s Blade is definitely not for the faint of heart and is a bit triggery.
Traitor’s Blade overall is a highly entertaining fantasy adventure with all the swords and banter a girl could ask for. It gets a bit dark at times, but the world and narration are a lot of fun. I’m quite looking forward to the rest of the series since there are hints at some pretty epic world events happening soon. I definitely recommend Traitor’s Blade to fans of Scott Lynch ;-).
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Traitor’s Blade by Sebastian de Castell
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.