Title: The Court of Broken Knives
Author: Anna Smith Spark
Publisher: June 2017
Blurb: They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we piss gold and jewels into the dust.
In the richest empire the world has ever known, the city of Sorlost has always stood, eternal and unconquered. But in a city of dreams governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has become the true ruler, and has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The empire is on the verge of invasion – and only one man can see it.
Haunted by dreams of the empire’s demise, Orhan Emmereth has decided to act. On his orders, a company of soldiers cross the desert to reach the city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from ashes can a new empire be built.
The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Marching on Sorlost, Marith thinks he is running away from the past which haunts him. But in the Golden City, his destiny awaits him – beautiful, bloody, and more terrible than anyone could have foreseen.
This book was a bit of a hit and miss for me.
Wait, wait, wait, please lower your pitchforks!! I’m just surprised as you are. And I do continue to plan to read this series; one that I was a little bit overdue in starting to begin with, but always wanted to read. I mean, one, look at those covers (especially the UK editions, which I will definitely be using in my reviews rather than the US editions). Two, everyone I trust has done nothing but praised this series, so I had very high expectations. Three, she is known as the Queen of grimdark, so how can I do anything but worship?
Perhaps it was those high expectations that made me ask for too much.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been on a romance binge and then I switched to grimdark and that’s always going to be a little bit a shock to the system.
But, I read A Court of Broken Knives and, by the time I finished it, I enjoyed it. I liked it. I just…didn’t fall completely head over heels in love with it?
*flinches away from the mob*
I can’t even pinpoint why? I really loved the multiple POVs that we had, even if I was a little more interested in some (like Thalia’s) who I was interested in more than others (like Marith’s). The writing style and voice is very different than most that I’m used to (and took a little bit of getting used to), but reminded me a lot of R.J. Barker from his Wounded Kingdom trilogy. But once I got used to the way Anne Smith Sparks writes, I was flying through the pages, finishing the latter half of the book with much more speed than I finished the former.
I thought the world was fascinating (particularly the temple and Thalia’s role) and I enjoyed the fact that shit goes down and no one is safe. I’m not really sure why I didn’t fall head over heels in love with it. Perhaps I was a little frustrated with Thalia’s indecision? Or the fact that I couldn’t connect or really root for Marith at all (he kinda just annoyed me).
I dunno, friends. That’s not to say I’m not still excited to continue reading this series and see what happens next (because I can only imagine, after what they accomplished in this book, that shit is only going to get worse from here). I think that excitement is just a little more tempered than it was before, but still hopeful that this series will win me over completely, by the end.