Friday, 18 November 2016

Review: Swords and Scoundrels

Swords and Scoundrels 
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Two siblings.
Outcasts for life.... together.
What could possibly go wrong?

Vocho and Kacha are champion duelists: a brother and sister known for the finest swordplay in the city of Reyes. Or at least they used to be-until they were thrown out of the Duelist's Guild.

As a last resort, they turn reluctant highwaymen. But when they pick the wrong carriage to rob, their simple plans to win back fame and fortune go south fast.

After barely besting three armed men and a powerful magician, Vocho and Kacha make off with an immense locked chest. But the contents will bring them much more than they've bargained for when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous plot to return an angry king to power....

Okay you guys I'm going to be honest with you, the synopsis for this intrigued me so much but I was kinda side eying it a bit because of the title and cover. I wasn't too sure what to expect based on the two, but I kept coming back to the synopsis like...okay this sounds really awesome...and it was! I went in to the book excited to see what it was all about and to have some fun highwaymen hijinks! 

I was pulled in to the book from the beginning by the banter between Kacha and Vocho and the action and the atmosphere! I read this in one sitting because I couldn't find a good place to put it down! I loved the world of the book it was so original, there's clockwork guys and my brain then switched to Steampunk mode! Seriously, there's a Clockwork God, Clockers who have taken the place of Nobles, and the city is built on clockwork and the city changes as the cogs move and it was so awesome! The world of the book was vivid, and original and atmospheric, so I ended up getting pulled right in to the book! Plus there was a tonne of intrigue and mystery going on! 

There's a fairly intricate plot going on, with lots of different threads coming together both past and present. There's political unrest what with the whole, King wanting to be King again and needing to get the prelate out of the way thing, on top of all the intrigue and mystery! I got drawn in to what was going on, coming up with my own theories but mostly I was along for the ride and to see what happened next! There's plenty of action, and I loved reading all the fights, I got a Musketeers vibe from our little group as they fought their way through the book! I loved how some parts of the book where slightly dark but there was plenty of humour too! It was genuinely funny in parts, and I really loved Kacha and Vocho's banter with each other, it cracked me up more than once!

There's three different POVs, Vocho mostly, with Kacha and Petri thrown in to and I really loved this it gave some much needed insight in to each character, and what their motivation was. Petri in particular, it allowed you to get to know him and understand why he was acting the way he was. Plus it helped to add to the relationship between the two siblings, it showed their different sides of things. I really loved the interludes throughout the book, it was a great way to give us a look at Kacha and Vocho's past, how they grew up and so on, how they came to have the complex relationship they do. It also let us see Petri and Bakars past too and how things came to be where they where in the book in the present. It was all well woven together, and I think the changes in time where smooth and didn't upset the narrative. I loved getting the history and the backstory and the insight in to the characters in such an interesting way and it gave you some real OMG moments too! And then the multi POV's came in handy even more. 

I loved reading about the complex relationship Kacha and Vocho had. It's an integral part of the book, I don't have any siblings so I can't say if it was normal or not, but I found it fascinating. They where so protective and loyal of each other, and they both have ambitions and they're competitive to an extent. I loved how Kacha stuck by Vocho. I really liked Kacha, she was a badass, she fought hard to get where she is, she doesn't take any crap from anyone and she's so loyal to Vocho. The pressure she felt to be perfect for everyone was also very relatable. 

Vocho too is relatable, particularly his childhood with Kacha. I understood why he acted like he did, I've felt the same thing with another family member myself, the feelings like you're not good enough compared to that person. I got it and it made me feel for him. I understood why he acted like he did, even if sometimes I wanted to smack him upside the head because Kacha's his sister and she's so loyal to him! He kinda jumps in without thinking, there was such an air of mystery to him because at one point you're not sure what he's really like! Vocho is kind of a loveable idiot I think, and he's hilariously vain! But there's more to him than that. All the characters are complex, and I'm interested to learn more about them, as well as the world of the book, Dom and Petri just as much as Kacha and Vocho! 

Speaking of characters, there's plenty of other characters throughout the book that you come to either love or hate. On the hate front we have Licio, the Idiot King. Sabates, the Evil Magician, although he made a nice change from the usual "I'm magical and aloof because I'm magical" kinda bad guy. It was super cool and creepy how they used their magic! On the love side we have Cospel, poor suffering Cospel. Dom...oh Dom I want to know more about you. Dom isn't at all what he first appears, funny as he is in the beginning. I actually spent most of the book going "Come on Dom, mate, I really want to like you...don't screw it up now!". He didn't let me down in the end, in case you where wondering! Then there's Petri. I'm not sure how to feel about Petri. I kinda thought he was going to be the bad guy, but it was hard to dislike him because I got his motivations and related to it, and he seems to genuinely care about Kacha, he knew everything Vocho did and was protective of her. I'm not entirely sure if I ship them or not, because I'm still not entirely sure what went on with the note thing, because Petri seems genuinely confused about what he did and I don't think he's that much of an arse. Then there was the moment at the end! 

Swords and Scoundrels is a light fantasy, it's fun and has humour as well as it's dark moments. There's plenty of action and mystery, and a brilliant brother/sister duo and relationship to draw you in. The world is original and vivid, and that combined with the characters, action and plot will draw you in and keep you reading! I'm thinking I need to read the next two books in the trilogy ASAP to see what happens next, because it's far from over and the next book has been well set up! 


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