Book of the Year 2017 (see all)
Never has a book made me so apoplectically angry as Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell, the fourth (and surprisingly final – I really need to start paying attention to these things) of The Greatcoats Quartet (see, it’s right in the name). It’s my own fault, of course, for reading any book while I’m having a bad depression-day – a day in which my depression is acting up more than normal. A good quarter of this book had me in tears and holding back sobs as I gamely ploughed on, barely able to see through the tears and my glasses. I have my own weak points when it comes to particular storylines which push all my buttons and leave me a quivering mess of tears and pent-up rage at an author for making me “feel” such emotions.
Of course, that is not to say that I didn’t also absolutely love Tyrant’s Throne, but right now I’m a little overwrought, so for the sake of a) venting a little bit (the previous paragraph, and b) more professionally reviewing this book, I’m going to return to this review in a day or so.
Two days have passed since I last opened this document, and I’m now much less likely to burst into tears while writing this review. I’m also now quite able to view Tyrant’s Throne as a piece of art beyond the tears it induced in me. This might sound like an overreaction – and it might be – but even though I struggled to remember all the characters and storylines when I started, within only a few chapters I was back up to speed and remembering just how much I love this story and the characters who inhabit it. As such, the events of Tyrant’s Throne were emotionally draining and trying for me to read. They pushed numerous of my buttons, which simultaneously make the story both brilliant and heartbreaking to read.
Sebastien de Castell has lost none of his ability, and I would go so far as to say that with each book he has written he has only gotten better: Better at writing his characters so that their relationships with one another are so real that you can’t help but be drawn closer in; better at writing the world in which these characters make their mistakes and heroics; and better at writing a story that is able to evoke a whole range of human emotions.
Tyrant’s Throne is the climax to a four-book series which has slowly been building since the beginning. There are no perfect characters in this series, and this book reveals the potential folly of putting first our ideals and ignoring the reality of the world. This, in turn, reveals the folly of ignoring our ideals and putting first the reality of the world. In one book, de Castell manages to force the reader to reevaluate their preconceptions about how to affect change in the world and in our lives.
I would also like to note that, though this review has dealt a lot with how emotional I felt, this does not mean I disliked the book or found it overwhelming. There is something special for me when an author is able to evoke in me such a strong reaction – regardless of what the emotion be. Just as much as this book brought me to tears, I was similarly pumped by the climax, and moved and pleased with how the book finished. All in all, Sebastien de Castell’s Tyrant’s Throne had me on the edge of my seat all night, moving from tears to fist-pumping and back again.
If I could recommend one series from the last five years that I hold up as the most action-packed and emotionally-riveting, I would be hard-pressed to look past Sebastien de Castell’s The Greatcoats Quartet.
Review by Joshua S Hill
9/10 from 1 reviews
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