My rating: 5 of 5 stars
**Thank you to Quercus and Jo Fletcher Books for providing me a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley for the purpose of review.**
I cannot stress enough just how happy I am that I discovered the Greatcoats series. Sebastien de Castell has managed to craft a world and, more important, characters that I truly cherish and with whom I look forward to spending a good deal of time. And, did I ever take my time with this novel. I savoured it, relishing the humour and wit of my favourite rag-tag crew, who, even still, are working to put their queen on the throne.
This is primarily because only a few months have passed between Knight’s Shadow and Saint’s Blood, which is definitely to this third installment’s benefit. I didn’t feel like I had missed huge chunks of important development, so despite being dropped in media res — and in media snark — I was perfectly up to speed with where everyone was and what they were up to.
If Traitor’s Blade was the funny novel, and Knight’s Shadow was the dark novel, then Saint’s Blood is the perfect balance of both. There’s all the wit (and snark) of Traitor’s along with the darkness of Knight’s, which means this might just be my favorite of the series thus far. We had a great antagonist, who did their work almost entirely in the shadows, thus making them all the more terrifying and difficult to catch; religious turmoil in the form of crazy enforcers called, Inquisitors (yes, they are just as bad as they sound); and then, suddenly…murder. Lots and lots of murder.
Saints are falling, felled by our hidden enemy, and so the Greatcoats once again find themselves in the position of being underdogs: untrusted and hunted from any and all sides. This allows now only for macrocosmic crises with which the group as a whole must deal, but also for development on a smaller, individual scale, as each of our favourite Greatcoats are forced to deal with their own issues. Every single character, from Kest and Brasti, to Valiant, and, of course, to Falcio, develop and change throughout the narrative.
If you haven’t picked up this series, you’re missing out. And if you have read this and just not yet picked up Saint’s Blood: you need it. This is the swashbuckling fantasy you need in your life.