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The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne) by…
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The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne)

by Myke Cole

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1807101,237 (3.73)12
In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Pros: feisty protagonist, interesting world-building

Cons:

Sixteen year old Heloise Factor’s world is upended when she and her father encounter members of the Order on the road. The Sojourner and his Pilgrims dragged the bodies of two female magicians behind their horses. Thus the Order keeps the people safe from the legions of Hell, which magicians unwittingly loose in their pride. But the Order has little consideration for the peasantry that feed them, and Heloise discovers that her fear must contend with anger at the mistreatment she and her father receive.

This character driven story is told from Heloise’s point of view as she learns that the world can be a terrifying place and that those who profess to do good are sometimes the most horrible. She’s a headstrong girl who can’t watch injustice without acting. This gets her - and others - into a lot of trouble. She’s also slowly discovering that she’s into girls, in a world where that’s not an acceptable option. There were a few moments where I wanted to yell at her for making poor decisions, but I can’t deny that Cole accurately tapped into a teen girl’s psyche, showing her fear, rage, and passion in equal measure.

The setting is medieval inspired with some minor steampunk style engines thrown in. I loved that there were quotations from various books of holy writ as well as her father’s journal from when he was in the war to give the narrative some historical grounding.

It’s very much a novel about family and what people will do for those they love. It’s also about communities that stick together, even when things get tough.

There’s a scene reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and it’s just as uncomfortable to read. It also contains the sole scene of graphic, somewhat gory, violence in the book. There’s a brilliant fight scene at the end that’s brutal, but not gory.

This is a quick read that really grips you (I missed a subway stop reading it).

Note: If you liked this but want a fantasy novel with an older heroine, pick up Armed In Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield. ( )
  Strider66 | Jun 4, 2019 |
I really enjoyed this book. The novel is told from the point of view of Heloise, the main character who is a good person but has to live with the consequences of her actions. ( )
  ladyoflorien | Feb 1, 2019 |
I came here to read a “Baru Cormorant-lite” kind of book and I was not disappointed.

Longer review to come. ( )
  majesdane | Jan 8, 2019 |
Cole draws on many familiar fantasy elements and twists them in new ways in this novella from Tor. This is a medieval setting where magical is punishable by death of the perpetrator--and their entire town. The Order rides around the countryside to hold back the forces of hell, and make some profit while they're at it. They are almost too easy to hate in their callous corruption. Teenage Heloise and her father encounter them on the road, and Heloise doesn't stay tight-lipped and obedient as she should. This starts off what will become a Really Bad Day.

At times, Heloise's impetuous nature frustrated me, but her actions also acted as reminders that she's a normal (within her world and ours) teenage girl. Yes, she does stupid things. She's not a trained soldier. She's fairly sheltered.

The book offered many surprises for me. I won't delve into the major events near the end--and wow, are there some twists there--but without spoiling anything, I will say I was pleased by how the village reacted to her family's trouble.

In all, an enjoyable, quick read, and I look forward to reading more in the series. ( )
  ladycato | Dec 22, 2018 |
This fantasy young woman/girl rescues the village story does take off in some unusual ways, but the plot sort of staggered and the dialog with adults was too realistic to carry the necessary fantasy feel where the trope is for young people to have agency. It's one of the reasons for orphan centered stories. So this novels 'virtues' keep it from working as fantasy. ( )
  quondame | Sep 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The strong have done what they could. Now the weak will suffer what they must.

--Thucydides
Dedication
For Nzinga of Ndongo, Gudit, and Running Eagle.
For the Trung Sisters and Teuta.
For Emilia Plater, Razia Sultana, and Vishpala.
For Jeanne d’Arc and Boudicca and on and on and on.
Women, red in tooth and claw.
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Heloise took her father’s hand, squeezing it hard. Samson’s eyebrows lifted as he squeezed hers back.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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