Monday, 19 June 2017

Review: Skullsworn

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy Courtesy of the Publisher! 

Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer--she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her Trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the ten people enumerated in an ancient song, including "the one you love / who will not come again."

Pyrre is not sure she’s ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The Priests of Ananshael, however, don’t look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth, the place where she long ago offered an abusive father to the god and abandoned a battered brother—in the hope of finding love...and ending it on the edge of her sword.

I haven't read any of the authors other books, so I haven't read the series that also features this world. After reading this...I really want to! I had no problems reading this, it's a standalone true but it is set in the same world as the series, and I've read standalones before that would be very confusing if you hadn't read the main series. There's no danger of that with this standalone, it's brilliantly done and in my case left me wanting to know and see more of the world of the book. Apparently Pyrre is in the main series, and I'd definitely be intrigued to see more of her after seeing her background in this book. Whether or not you've read the main series or are new to the authors books, this is a great read! It'll either enhance the world and characters if you've already read the series, or if you're new to the authors books, it'll intrigue you and give you a great background to one of the characters of the main series, as well as introduce you to the world. 

I was immediately pulled in by the narrative and the writing style. I really enjoyed and loved the authors writing style/storytelling. It wove a picture for me, kept me intrigued, and had me riveted to the story. We have a first person narrative from Pyrre, and I loved how it switched from present to past. We got little chunks of Pyrre's past and I seriously loved how instead of having a super long flashback or just having her past shoved in to the narrative...we got these little chunks of her past usually as she was telling one of the others. I could practically see the screen fading to black as she started her story, and then fading back in with past Pyrre. 

Pyrre really goes on a fascinating journey throughout the book, as she ventures back to her homeland and struggles with her task. We see the darker side of her and how she feels about herself as you would expect with her, shall we say, job, but we also see a different side to her as she notes the beauty of the world with her beautiful descriptions. I loved the complexities to her. We see her views on many different things, and how things like the Gods and so on affect her which was intriguing. I also enjoyed her thought process regarding love and what it means to her and so on. I'm kind of assuming that this happens before the original series but I could be wrong and it could be after, either way I'm intrigued by Pyrre and eager to see more of her! I thoroughly enjoyed her narrative and inner monologue. 

It's safe to say I really loved the characters, they're a colourful bunch. I'm curious about them and their pasts, and intrigued as to whether we get to see more of them in the main series, depending on whether this is before or after it! Ela was perhaps my favourite after Pyrre, she cracked me up and I genuinely loved her. Her relationship with Kossal was intriguing and I wished we'd gotten to see more of it. Ruc was fun too, and I'm definitely interested in seeing more of him and his past, and his past relationship with Pyrre! I loved watching the interactions between the two of them, I'm not going to lie! 

The world building for this book was incredibly good considering the fact it's not very long and is only a couple of hundred pages rather than the bigger fantasy books you expect. I'm sure in the main trilogy there's even more detail and more information, and I'm intrigued to see more of the world. As it was in this book, the world was incredibly vivid. I could perfectly picture each of the settings and practically smell the same smells as the characters. Even the grim ones. I was so incredibly fascinated with this world. Staveley has managed to build a vivid world that pulls you in, and create colourful and intriguing characters in half the page count of most fantasy books. Colour me impressed. 

I'm a huge lover of fantasy, but I also love me a little bit of romance too, which is what intrigued me about this book. The combination of the two. I read a lot of fantasy and there's not always much in the way of romance, but the two are perfectly combined in this book. World building, characterisation, romance, and plot are expertly woven together to create an engrossing read. 

Skullsworn is a must read, whether or not you've read the main series. Although fair's going to make you want to read the main series. I'm thinking I need to take a trip to the library to see if they have it so I can read the books ASAP! This book has plenty of life lessons, action, intrigue, secrets, blood and stabby times. But it also has humour, heartbreaking and heartwarming moments too. There's twists and turns and an ending I wasn't expecting...not to mention a beginning I wasn't expecting either....I many characters do you come across that accidentally trigger a bloody rebellion in the first pages!? I'm thoroughly impressed with this book and the Staveley's storytelling prowess and I'm expecting great things from the main series! 

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