Book cover: Shadowblack - Sebastien de Castell (a blue playing card, with a young man on the top half and a blindfolded young woman on the bottom half)
Review: Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell
Reviews / October 18, 2017

Kellen of the House of Ke isn’t just a disappointment to his parents and an outcast to his people: he’s a spellslinger on the run with a price on his head. You’d think he’d keep a low profile. Maybe it’s his nature. Maybe it’s the company he keeps. But he just can’t keep himself out of trouble… Shadowblack is the sequel to the riotous joy that was Spellslinger, an unapologetically brash coming-of-age romp – so this review will inevitably be chock-full of spoilers for the first book. While you can pick up the gist by diving straight into Shadowblack, don’t do it – the context will make the second book more rewarding, and Spellslinger is a joy from start to finish. Still here? Right then. Where Spellslinger was set in the ‘most civilised’ city/culture in the world (at least according to its Jan’Tep inhabitants), Shadowblack is in the world’s equivalent of the Wild West: the Seven Sands (some of which are blue. Neat). Ferius – with her smoking reeds and drawling slang – fits right in. Kellen – well-born, well-bred and very, very wet behind the ears – really doesn’t. We rejoin Kellen and his light-fingered, short-tempered familiar Reichis trying to steal something from…

Review: Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell
Reviews / June 12, 2017

It is no exaggeration when I say that a series like the Greatcoats only comes once in a lifetime, and now that it has come to an end, I am filled with a mixture of complicated emotions. On the one hand, I am extremely pleased with the conclusion, with our heroes and heroines getting the satisfying sendoff they deserved. On the other, I no longer know what to do with myself. Like many goodbyes, this one was bittersweet, and if it hadn’t been for the final words of the author’s postscript, I would be having a much harder time right now. Picking up not long after the events of the previous book, Tyrant’s Throne sees Falcio val Mond and his allies continuing their efforts to put King Paelis’ daughter Aline on the throne of Tristia. To do so, he would need the support of the dukes, but unfortunately most of them would forsake their kingdom than to be ruled by a young girl. To make matters even more dire, talk of war is also brewing in the mountains. More and more, the penniless and starving common folk in the northern duchies are fleeing into neighboring Avares for their salvation, and…

Review: Saint’s Blood by Sebastien de Castell
Reviews / April 25, 2016

  Talk about your emotional roller coasters. I started out clutching the side of my e-reader with anticipatory glee, loving the sheer excitement of each new development . . .  until I hit the point where I wanted to hurl it across the room as I cursed the name Sebastien de Castell . . . before I found myself holding it in shaky hands as I bravely tried to deny that a book was on the verge of making a grown man cry.   “Time to stick the pointy end through the bad man’s heart.”   If you thought the first two books were great (and Knight’s Shadow was one of my favorite books last year) then be prepared to have the bar raised impossibly high with Saint’s Blood. Falcio suffers more here than any other hero in recent memory – and that’s saying something, considering what he endured with the Greatcoat’s Lament last time around. He’s still suffering from that torture as the book begins, haunted day and night by his seemingly endless torment . . . and his anguish just gets deeper. He’s a man both physically exhausted and emotionally broken, kept alive by nothing more than the slender threads of love and devotion. Even that’s not enough,…