ARC Review: Skullsworn
Author: Brian Staveley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary: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.
Fantastic! I loved this book so much, even more than the original trilogy. The best part of this book was learning about the origins of one of the most enigmatic characters in The Unhewn Throne trilogy. I loved seeing who Pyrre was when she was younger; she grows so much over the timeline of this book, but there's also so much growth between Pyrre in this book and Pyrre in the trilogy. I had so much fun trying to figure out and Pyrre's secrets, especially since she was so secretive in the first book.
I really loved how this book also revealed a lot more about the mythology of the world. We learn a lot more about Ananshael's priests and priestesses, and how much they sacrifice to become masters of their order. It's also interesting to see how they view the world, because as foreign as it seems, their beliefs actually make a lot of sense if you think about it. I loved how our own questions were answered when Pyrre questioned the seeming paradoxes of their belief system. Aside from Ananshael's mysteries, we also learn a lot about more local gods from Pyrre's home town. Then there's all the connections between the new mythology in this book and what we know from the trilogy. It was a feast!
I also loved how the setting was such a big character in this book. Pyrre's home town is on the banks of a swampy delta, and like many other things in this series, it is vicious. This delta is full of terrifying animals like crocodiles and snakes, aside from the river itself, which moves and changes paths as if it has a mind of its own.
I loved so much about this book, it's really hard for me to think of anything I didn't like! I loved the new characters, the wit and humor, the rich writing style, and just being in this world again!
A free eARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review