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Saint's Blood by Sebastien De Castell
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Falcio, Kest and Brasti continue their quest to secure Aline's throne and bring peace to Tristia in Saint's Blood, the third book of the Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell. This time around actual Saints are added to the mix as the body count rises - how does someone manage to kill a Saint anyway and for what purpose?

One of my biggest complaints from the previous novels were the uneven pacing. I am happy to say that de Castell has finally found his stride. The story picks up a few months after the previous book and things get off to a slowish start. It doesn't take long for the pace to pick up and stay there. The balance was exactly perfect between grim, funny, action and poignant which made for a much more enjoyable read this time around. The character banter continues to be one of my favorite parts of the books.

The world is being fleshed out more. We learn a lot more about Saints and Gods. It's not a new concept since they're the living personifications of an abstract concept (like mercy) formed out of their worshiper's emotions and prayers, but I like having the framework in place to round out my understanding of this world. It also adds a sad note and points out how Tristia is truly a screwed up country when the newest God that is created is a God of Fear. We're also introduced to two new groups of people, Cogneri and Inlaudati. I like the extra flavor they add to the world, though they kinda come out of nowhere.

The story continues to be told exclusively from Falcio's point of view. While the others do have their moments, this is definitely Falcio's hero journey, if he could just get out of his own way long enough to do things right the first time! He does get there eventually though. It should be noted that the best parts of the book are when things are going to utter sh*t for our heroes and they have to overcome overwhelming odds to win.

The book still has its flaws. There's still quite a bit of randomness where things feel like they're thrown in just because they're cool and not really planned. Magic is still unexplained and used as a convenience. We still don't have deeper backgrounds for Kest and Brasti, which is a shame. The bad guy comes out of nowhere with a motivation that would fit just about anyone living in this horrible country and is so over powered it's ridiculous. Of course our plucky heroes still win the day. With one book left I've decided to accept these things as I doubt they're going to change.

Even with it's flaws, the story was a lot more fun and enjoyable than the previous two books. The grimdark is still there but has been tempered, which I appreciate, and the story has ends with a bit of hope. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how this all ends. ( )
  Narilka | Feb 3, 2019 |
This book was intense. I felt like there was no reprieve from the action and everything was go, go, go. I really enjoyed it, it was fun, fast paced, and adventurous, yet at times it felt like a bit too much.

Falcio, Kest, and Brasti were once again great, and we really get to see them develop and change in this novel. I really enjoy Ethalia, Valiana, and Aline as well. I wish we had gotten some of their POVs though, instead of just being in Falcio's head the whole time.

Overall, I really enjoyed how this played out and how the role of religion, faith, and gods was discussed. How we can create gods in our faith and prayers, and how believing in something gives it power over us.

I definitely recommend this series. ( )
  jdifelice | Feb 27, 2018 |
I enjoyed this book, no enjoy is too weak for the passion I have toward this one. I loved it, loved it and definitely loved it. I devoured every word of this book, that’s how good it is.

SD has created an awesome collection of characters. They have hilarious dialogs, heartbreaking ones and on some rare occasions serious talks. In this book you find funny moments and thrilling fights.
This is fantasy world of Three Muketeers and there is love, friendship, lost and so much more to read.

And what about story this time : Falcio and other few greatcoats try to keep Aline heir to throne and Valiana as Realm Protector fights diplomatically with Dukes so they can’t question Aline authority, as it always should get worse a new secret reveals itself. Saints are being murdered and no one has a clue how in the hell someone can kill a saint? One thing is clear, whoever is responsible for saints murder is determined to not let Aline sit on throne of Tristia and it’s Falcio’s job again to find the culprit and undo his evil actions. ( )
  ardvisoor | Jun 5, 2017 |
Falcio du Monde, Kest (the former Saint) and Brasti (the archer with malapropisms) are caught in more politics and more attempts to remove them from the world or possibly just from power. Falcio has to make hard decisions and deal with a lot of sorrow and pain to get to a place where he can save the country and possibly the world from disaster, again. Every time he has a lot to lose and he cares so deeply about it all. He also knows that he's slowing down and getting older and there doesn't seem to be any respite or anyone willing to take his shoes, if he would be willing to pass them on.

Falcio is a man who wants to create a just and good world and is willing too often to put his life and his body on the line to create that world, his protective impulses are going to kill him one of these days but he wants to do this, he wants to be the body in the gap.

I like this series, love the banter and enjoy reading about this world and a fight for real justice. ( )
  wyvernfriend | May 22, 2017 |
This has to be my favorite modern series. I just love it.

Someone is killing Saints and desecrating churches and frightening everyone to the point that the always shaky realm of Tristia is ready to topple. Falcio, Brasti and Kest are supposed to be spreading law to protect the realm but everything they do seems to play into the hands of the mysterious puppet master.

The story is dark and sinister and very very good.

There are two things I especially like. First are the torture masks that recall Dumas' iron mask but are made even more horrific by their magic. Anyone with an imagination will shudder.

Second, and fortunately brighter, is the structure of the book as a treatise on fencing. The first chapter is a triumph.

Read the books in order, please. And, as other reviews say, block out a huge chunk of time because you won't be able to put them down.

I received a review copy of "Saint's Blood" by Sebastien de Castell (Quercus US) through NetGalley.com.

Note: One Amazon reviewer mentioned that her copy had many typos. My copy, which may have been a later one had few typos. There were some word choices I did not like (e.g. "a" hallucination rather than "an") and some subject verb number problems, but nothing unusual. ( )
  Dokfintong | Oct 23, 2016 |
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For my wonderful sister-in-law, Terry Lanthier, The closest most of us will ever come to meeting an actual saint...
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On the morning of your first duel, an unusually attractive herald will arrive at your door bearing a sealed note and  an encouraging smile.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"How do you kill a Saint? Falcio, Kest, and Brasti are about to find out, because someone has figured out a way to do it and they've started with a friend. The Dukes were already looking for ways out of their agreement to put Aline on the throne, but with the Saints turning up dead, rumours are spreading that the Gods themselves oppose her ascension. Now churches are looking to protect themselves by bringing back the military orders of religious soldiers, assassins, and (especially) Inquisitors - a move that could turn the country into a theocracy. The only way Falcio can put a stop to it is by finding the murderer. He has only one clue: a terrifying iron mask which makes the Saints vulnerable by driving them mad. But even if he can find the killer, he'll still have to face him in battle. And that may be a duel that no swordsman, no matter how skilled, can hope to win"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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