Thursday, 20 April 2017

FANTASY REVIEW: Skullsworn - Brian Staveley

Release Date: 20/04/17
Publisher: Tor/Pan Macmillan


Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the description skullsworn. It doesn’t capture the beauty of her devotion to Ananshael, God of Death. And she’s not an assassin, but a priestess. Or she will be, if she can pass her final trial. The problem isn’t killing, as Pyrre has spent her life training for this. The problem is love. To pass the trial, she will have fourteen days to kill seven people detailed in an ancient song, including one true love, ‘who will not come again’. However, Pyrre has never been in love, time is short, and if she fails she’ll be given to her god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail. So a month before the trial begins, she returns to the violent city of her birth, where she once offered an abusive father to the god. Here Pyrre hopes to find love – and end it with the edge of her knife.


Having enjoyed the authors previous work, I was rather looking forward to returning to the world and spending time with one of the cast members, this time in the lead role. However to be honest I had a hell of a job getting into the book. I found the character detestable and to be blunt, if you hadn't read the previous titles in the series (although this is the start of a new one) you may well find yourself more than confused and wondering how long you'd persevere with the book.

I'm not saying its bad, but the first chapter feels more than a little clunky and almost lost as if it were a later add on or a start that wasn't returned to later and polished to keep it smoother. The writing is solid enough, the story arc one full of reasonable twists and turns which when added to dialogue that helps further it, generates a book that is more OK than anything else.

All round, I will stick with Brian as I feel that there's a lot more behind the scenes waiting to come to the fore in later outings for the world, however as a standalone I do feel that this one is more of a middle of the road title than a standout must read book.

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