With the release of Sworn in Steel coming out (the second book in this series), I decided to re-read the first book as a refresher on the series- especially since I read it before I started writing more detailed reviews for Cannonball Read. I remembered that this book had something to do with a thief and his crime organization. I had forgotten about the plot twists and the action and the excitement of figuring things out with the main character. I am going to give this book 4 stars.
Here’s a breakdown…
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What is this book about?
Drothe is a “Nose”, which is basically a spy (someone who ‘noses’ around in other people’s business). When we meet him, he is working for Nicco, one of the crime bosses (aka Upright Man) in the empire. The adventure starts when he finds some scraps of paper on a man he had tortured. This leads him (and his friend Bronze- who is a part of a special assassin/ fighting group called Degans) around the Empire trying to find the meaning of the code on the scraps of paper. We find that instead of working for Nicco, Drothe is really a ‘long nose’- which means he is a spy for the rival Upright Man- Kells. He seems to have some Gray Princes (a step above Upright Men) after him / helping him / trying to kill him. It seems all he can do to stay alive. He ends up finding a book, that indicates that the Emperor (who has three avatars) may have not been forthright with his proclaimed divinity. That perhaps his magicians (Paragons) made split his soul into three because they could not make him immortal. These discoveries and the associated adventures provide Drothe with a ‘promotion’ to Gray Prince (since he has killed another Gray Prince and an Upright Man). It also causes him to loose his best friend, Bronze. Drothe and Bronze had exchanged an oath, and Drothe falls short of delivering his end of the deal.
What did I think about this book?
Drothe is a great character, he’s a mix of knowledge, street smarts, false bravado (a ‘fake it til you make it’ type of guy), he’s an honorable thief and there is never a rest in his adventure. He’s got a cool power in that he can see at night, but sometimes that hurts him, as if it becomes bright when his night vision is activated, he is blinded until he can adjust.
I loved that the book was a straight timeline.
The world building was unique. The different names for the roles (Nose, Upright Man, glimmer, etc.) were easy to follow once you knew what they were, but they help establish the setting.
N/A- not because there weren’t good lines, but the Kindle app on my phone does not allow me to highlight lines, just bookmark pages.
The plot was complex enough that I was glad I re-read this one before starting the next book…