Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes
"And I felt like I was choking on my own blood again. I felt like I was drowning on dry land. I felt like I wanted to tear my throat out so I could breathe again. I felt like I wanted to take out my gun and start shooting until things made sense."
Well, fuck. If this isn't my jam, I don't know what is!
Sal the Cacophony (rad name, yeah?) felt as though she was a part of my soul. I related to her in many ways... for awhile there, I was feeling personally attacked! Goddamn. Sarcastic, sweary, tattooed, self-deprecating, a bit surly yet trying to remain optimistic, tough, slightly jaded by some trauma in her past, enjoys a dirty joke or ten, loves whiskey... but like, she's the way cooler badass fantasy version! Unfortunately, I don't have a gun that shoots magic or a sword named Jeff. YET.
Seven Blades in Black is burnt! Er... lit. Whatever the kids say these days! But it's also literally on fire. The world within the pages known as the Scar, that is. The Scar is a devastated wasteland between two empires - the Imperium and the Revolution - who are at war. This is where we find Sal on her quest for revenge. She is on a mission to track down and kill the mages that have betrayed her by stealing her magic. As the story begins, Sal is arrested by the Revolution and is awaiting execution. Interrogated by Governor-Militant Tretta Stern about the trail of bodies that Sal has left behind and a soldier that has gone missing, she is set to be executed for her crimes. But first, Tretta wants answers.
I've followed Sam Sykes on Twitter for years now, although this is my first book of his that I've read. I'm so glad I finally took the plunge (I do own his other books, but it's me... the broken record always rambling on about the never-ending TBR struggle...)
Sykes has said that this is his love letter to Final Fantasy and he unabashedly wears that influence on his sleeve here. There is a JRPG storytelling quality that is addictive as fuck and this has that and more. As a big fan of the Final Fantasy franchise and of JRPG's in general, this gave me the warm fuzzies. Oof.
"If it were possible to make love to books, I would.
Downstairs, Liette's shop was neatly organized and pleasingly sparse. Upstairs, Liette's parlor was a madwoman's design.
Every wall was lined with shelves and every shelf was positively bursting with books. Some of them were crammed to the breaking point, some of them sagged in the middle from the weight of heavy tomes, some of them just gave the fuck up. Books grew in piles and columns across the carpeted floor, a forest of paper and leather that seemed to blossom out of the floor. Books, opened and pages marked, lay in a haphazard spread across the table in the middle of the room and upon the armrests of the sofa facing it."
At almost 700 pages, I can't help but admire the sheer skill and cleverness of the plot that unfolds throughout this wrist-breaker. It never felt bogged down or excessively long. Sal's blood-soaked backstory was handled brilliantly by Sykes and added some truly gut-punchy moments. His timing is just utter perfection! Complex characters, great dialogue, intense action, a compellingly bonkers magic system, intricate worldbuilding, brutal violence, humor, romance, A FUCKING GIANT RIDING BIRD NAMED CONGENIALITY. I just adored this book so completely!
Seven Blades in Black is a fantastic beginning to the Grave of Empires trilogy and I'm eagerly waiting for the next installment!
::face pops out of your screen:: READ THIS BOOK!!
(HUGE thanks to Orbit Books for sending me a copy! I didn't even have to punch someone's grandma in the face... SCORE!!)
Review originally published here.
This Seven Blades in Black book review was written by Holly Grimdragon
All reviews for: The Grave of Empires
Seven Blades in Black
The Grave of Empires: Book 1
Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of...
Have you read Seven Blades in Black?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Seven Blades in Black reader reviews
Jens from Germany
I started reading Seve Blades in Black on a routine lunch-break visit to my local book-store. It had its hooks in me from the first page. I still couldn't bring myself to buy it as I had a ton of unread books at home. Next day, I came back and continued reading. Stopped after a few pages, promising myself this book would the first I'd buy once I was through with my other books. Didn't help - I bought it a couple of days later and burned through it in a few days. If you like a fast-paced, gritty, Joe-Abercrombie-type of story - though Sam Sykes defenitely has his own tone of voice - with more depth than initially apparent, Seven Blades in Black is your book.
9.3/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Powder Mage Trilogy
The alchemy of gunpowder fused with the magic of sorcery. In a time of upheaval, resurgence and corrupted Royalty Privileged, one-man’s love for his lost wife and his...
The Magicians series
In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price... Quentin Coldwater's life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turn...
In the first age of Andeira, men and dragons brought together the two halves of the elemental magic of the world to create a union through which their magic, and the world,...
Dawn of the Exile
For the damned, redemption may be just a mad dream…Years have passed since the demon Tarrik and his master, the sorcerer Ren, destroyed the servants of S...
The House of Shattered Wings
Aliette de Bodard
Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and...
Smoke and Stone
Michael R Fletcher
After a cataclysmic war of the gods, the last of humanity huddles in Bastion, a colossal ringed city. Beyond the outermost wall lies endless desert haunted by the souls of ...
Steel Crow Saga
A soldier with a curseTala lost her family to the empress's army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress's crimes don't haunt her ...
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford - Samuel Johnson. In fact, Dr Johnson was only half right. There is in Lo...
Winter Be My Shield
Sierra has a despised and forbidden gift - she raises power from the suffering of others. Enslaved by the king's torturer, Sierra escapes, barely keeping ahead of Raste...
Great fantasy books published in 2019
A Brightness Long Ago
Guy Gavriel Kay
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose li...
The Raven Tower
For centuries the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by a god known as the Raven. But in their hour of need, the Raven speaks nothing to its people. It is into this unres...
The 10,000 Doors of January
Alix E Harrow
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut....
The Priory of the Orange Tree
A world divided.A queendom without an heir.An ancient enemy awakens.The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen S...
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.Meet Dodger, his twin. Numb...
A Little Hatred
War. Politics. Revolution. The Age of Madness has arrived... The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep a...
Beneath the Twisted Trees
Çeda was an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai. She has been an assassin in dark places. A weapon poised to strike from the shadows. A voice from the...
The Hod King
Thomas Senlin and his crew of outcasts have been separated, and now they must face the dangers of the labyrinthine tower on their own in this third book in the word...
Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.THEY CAME AGAINST HER AS A CHILD. NOW THEY FACE THE WOMAN....
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: