Amid the events of The Shadow Saint(#2), Carillon Thay aka Cari aka The Saint of Knives has left the city of Guerdon in the hopes to travelling the legendary land of Khebesh. Khebesh is a city famed for its mages and their luck of not being affected by Gods War. Khebesh holds the key to Cari saving her friend Spar who hangs on between the world of the living and an astral plain(if that makes sense). However, her journey won’t be easy as she know longer possesses the powers of a saint and there are those who wish vengeance upon her.
In Guerdon, we see things from the POV of two new editions. Firstly there is Rasce, the chosen of the dragon Taras leader of the Ghierdana. The Ghierdana are essentially a pirate gang who wish to take control of the majority supply of yliaster(a substance used by alchemists). This in turn will allow them to have an even bigger steak in controlling the city of Guerdon. Somehow Spar is able to channel is voice into the mind of Rasce thus like Cari becoming a saint. The other new character Baston also has a connection with Spar. Like Spar, Baston was part of the Brotherhood until it’s own downfall. Baston has been tasked by Eladora who is Cari’s cousin to spy on the Rasce and the Ghierdana.
Gareth Hanrahan returns with another superb installment in his Black Iron Legacy series. I still remember reading the first novel, The Gutter Prayer when it first came out and how it blew me away. The world Gareth Hanrahan has created is unique, meticulous, and imaginative. The city of Guerdon feels so alive that you feel like you’re there in the middle of a packed Guerdon City. What i also loved was how Hanrahan expands the world further by taking across the sea into places like Gissa(very creepy ghost town), Ulbishe, and Ilbarin. This made things feel fresh as we weren’t just stuck on Guerdon soil.
In every book so far, there have different central themes/direction that the novel takes. In book one the story centred around Spar, Rat, and Cari being involved in a heist which kicked their journey off. Book two was much more on the political side of things as each faction/party attempts to gain control over Guerdon. Thus, book three focuses on the aftermath of the destruction the gods war has caused. Three different factions have taken control over different parts of Guerdon and each attempt to keep hold of their piece.
Also like the previous books, we see the world unravel from a new perspective. The addition of the gangster like family of the Ghierdana was also so cool and felt like the Godfather but instead of humans you had dragons. I’m a huge fan of dragons in general so the inclusion of dragons definitely heated things up. Through Cari, the story also explores mages and the city of Khebesh which is closed to outsiders. This in turn has allowed them to stay clear of the Gods War. We learn that by stealing fragments of power from the gods to conjure their magic, mages are gambling with their lives. Over time, the magic ends up turning on them.
I loved the return of both Spar and Cari. Both have been through so much together and their friendship is one of my favourites. Throughout the series Cari the stabby Saint of Knives has been my favourite. We really see her mature a lot in this novel as she thinks about the consequences before acting and also the impact of her actions on those around her. Spar again is a heart of gold. This has been through absolute shit and people have done him over so bad. I really hope Spar and Cari can finally be able to start enjoying their lives because boy oh boy do they need a rest!
We also see many other returning characters such as Rat, Eladora, worm like sorceres called the crawling ones, and the mage Myri. Although the Ghierdana family are the main villains in this novel, the main antagonist for me was definitely Artolo. He lost his arms in the second book thanks to Cari and is obsessed with getting revenge on her. He was a great villain because he’s an absolute wanker and is very much easy to hate. When considering the characters of Baston and Rasce, honestly speaking I didn’t really like them or dislike them. I think because I’m so emotionally invested in Cari and Spar that I was more interested in them than the others. In saying that though, I really enjoyed things from the POV of Terevant in The Shadow Saint. He was an underdog and felt relatable. Where as I just couldn’t form a connection with Baston and Rasce.
All in all however, Hanrahan is a master of having a vast number of complex characters in his novel without causing confusion. He goes from one character to another effortlessly without it having a negative impact on the flow of the story.
In terms of the writing, it was fast paced and full of exciting twists. The action throughout is also tantalising and kept me on the edge. Hanrahan just knows how to grab you and keep you reading on and on until the very end. Although many arcs are closed, the ending leaves a lot open for the next book. Hanrahan always keeps leaving enough mystery to leave you invested in the series. I am so excited to see what is going to happen next 🙇🏽♂️
Overall, another enjoyable installment in a fantastic series. Hanrahan is a phenomenal storyteller who just knows how to absorb you into his stories. The world he has created in this series is again so so unique and different to anything I’ve ever come across. I can’t wait read the next book whenever it may come out. Thank you again to Angela and Orbit for sending me a copy! I’m very grateful as always for the opportunity to read this fantastic series!