Hot Best Seller

The Armored Saint

Availability: Ready to download

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.

*advertisement

Compare

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.

30 review for The Armored Saint

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petrik

    ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review. Constantly pulse-pounding, The Armored Saint is a poignant, tension-packed grimdark fantasy and a glorious beginning to a trilogy. I started The Armored Saint with zero knowledge about the book; I didn’t know what it was about, and I had never even heard of the name Myke Cole. What captured my attention was Robin Hobb’s blurb and its stunning cover art by Tommy Arnold. Luckily, I’m pleased to say that the book’s tone totally m ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review. Constantly pulse-pounding, The Armored Saint is a poignant, tension-packed grimdark fantasy and a glorious beginning to a trilogy. I started The Armored Saint with zero knowledge about the book; I didn’t know what it was about, and I had never even heard of the name Myke Cole. What captured my attention was Robin Hobb’s blurb and its stunning cover art by Tommy Arnold. Luckily, I’m pleased to say that the book’s tone totally matched Hobb’s blurb (“Ruthless and heart-wrenching”) and the quality of the book itself exceeded the quality of the gorgeous cover. I guess you can say that judging a book by its cover worked wonderfully this time. The Armored Saint, the first book in The Sacred Throne trilogy, is in fact only the second time a short book or a novella made it to my “favorites of all time” shelf, the first one being The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. Cole has truly created something special here; right from the first chapter, the story pulled me in and never let go until the end. Told solely from Heloise’s perspective, I found the plot highly engaging up to the incredible action-packed climax sequences. It’s immersive and it dealt with a lot of intriguing topics that fit our current societies, such as faith, familial and LGBT love, but most of all, injustice and persecution. “..while your thoughts are your own, the words you let past your lips belong to the world, and the world will not always take the meaning you intended.” The story direction is not plot-driven; I don’t think it was ever meant to be written that way, and was instead a heavily character-driven story. Because the author used this storytelling direction with an exceptionally well-written main character, I was never bored while reading this book. The main character, Heloise Factor, has become one of the best female protagonists I’ve ever read in any book. “Heloise Factor is my favorite kind of hero, the one who makes mistakes and suffers for them, and comes out swinging anyway. I can’t wait for you to meet her.” –Myke Cole And I’m delighted to have met her. Her raw emotions, her innocence, her struggle with love and her identity can be felt through each word. In fact, by the middle of the first chapter, I was already worried about her fate. This, of course, doesn’t apply to Heloise only; the side characters, especially Samson, Clodio and Basina are all equally well written despite the book being told solely from Heloise's POV in third person narrative. All of these were achievable due to Cole’s prose that felt incredibly vivid and totally brought the raw emotions of the characters to life. Believe me, I wish I can share all the quotes that I highlighted and tell you what a wonderful experience I had reading Cole’s prose, but it’s better for you to find out by yourself. Surprisingly, the discussion about love in this book moved me the most. There was also stunning world-building that was introduced meticulously: dark medieval setting, violent fanatical religious group, a portal to hell through an eye, magic with repercussions, and War-Machines. With all of these aspects combined, I couldn’t possibly ask for a better start to a trilogy in a short book. Remember, all of this happened within the scope of fewer than 200 pages; what many authors usually require 400 pages or more to do, Cole did exceptionally well in half the number of pages. This deserves high praise from me and trust me, I’m quite petty when it comes to giving praises. It actually shocked me to learn that this is Cole’s first grimdark fantasy; he captured all the essence of grimdark fantasy magnificently without showing any gore or unnecessary violent scenes; he instead emphasized more how brutal and harsh reality can be. However, in the midst of all the injustice, he never forgets to remind us that love and kindness remain two of the greatest gifts that humanity can bestow upon one another. “That love is worth it. It is worth any hardship, it is worth illness. It is worth injury. It is worth isolation. It is even worth death. For life without love is only a shadow of life.” I read through the ARC edition of this book within three hours; on that front, I guess I’m screwed because there are still five months left until the official release date of this book, which means my wait for the second book will be even more painful. However, I’ll wait patiently; if the rest of the trilogy maintains this quality, I have no doubt that The Sacred Throne will be one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read. Cole is truly a long-awaited addition to grimdark fantasy and I’m sure fans of the genre—or just great fantasy in general—will be damn pleased to welcome him aboard once this book appears on the market. P.S: Although Tor categorized this book as a novella, I should let you know that its wordcounts reached 60k, which easily fits the criteria of a short book instead of a novella. Release date: February 20th, 2018. You can pre-order the book HERE You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark Lawrence

    I really liked this book. Read it in two days, which is always a good sign. Though sometimes I do savour books I'm really into too... This isn't a book for savouring, it's a hard hitting tale that doesn't let up until it's done. The punches come both emotionally and, in the actions scenes, literally. The title girl is the main character and we see events unfold through her eyes. Cole does a great job portraying her inner life along with her often poor decision making that comes from a good place. I really liked this book. Read it in two days, which is always a good sign. Though sometimes I do savour books I'm really into too... This isn't a book for savouring, it's a hard hitting tale that doesn't let up until it's done. The punches come both emotionally and, in the actions scenes, literally. The title girl is the main character and we see events unfold through her eyes. Cole does a great job portraying her inner life along with her often poor decision making that comes from a good place. The book does a great job at portraying relationships, making you care about the characters, and then menacing the hell out of them! Nooooo! Don't do that! I thought, more than once. It's a small book but it builds a big and interesting world, and does so painlessly, even though we only see a sliver of it. There's enough inventiveness going on to keep this reader happy without overloading. Reading the story there were quite a few points where I thought, "I know where this is going." And each time I felt a touch disappointed, thinking that I was reading a tale I basically already knew, albeit it very well executed. It turned out though that I was wrong on several of those occasions and the refusal to stay on the tracks was very welcome. It's a little book that takes on big issues of rights and wrongs, and rather than give glib answers it just shines a light on them. It's intelligently written, fun, and brutal in equal measures. Well ... the fun comes from reading it. I won't claim it's a laugh riot. I thought this was an excellent read, bringing to the table all of Myke Cole's proven skills and adding new ones into the mix as if the man didn't already have enough talent. So, yes, read it! It won't take long and you'll thank me. Tor describe this as a novella. Book 1 in a trilogy of novellas. http://www.tor.com/2016/06/02/tor-com... At almost 60,000 words The Fractured Girl is actually a shortish book rather than a novella, the definition of which seems to include a word range of 17,500 to 40,000. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novella It's also longer than most of the many books that Michael Moorcock wrote in the 60s/70s. We've just grown used to fat fantasy of late. I hear a whisper that short and sweet may be coming back. And remember, Prince of Thorns was only 82,000 words. Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes ...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review. “Love is worth it. It is worth any hardship, it is worth illness. It is worth injury. It is worth isolation. It is even worth death. For life without love is only a shadow of life.” Well, I think it’s safe for me to yell from the rooftops: pre-order The Armored Saint now, guys! What an amazing ride, even though I wasn’t ready for it to be over. This is easily one of the best things I’ve read in 2017, and this is truly epic fantasy at its fi ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review. “Love is worth it. It is worth any hardship, it is worth illness. It is worth injury. It is worth isolation. It is even worth death. For life without love is only a shadow of life.” Well, I think it’s safe for me to yell from the rooftops: pre-order The Armored Saint now, guys! What an amazing ride, even though I wasn’t ready for it to be over. This is easily one of the best things I’ve read in 2017, and this is truly epic fantasy at its finest. I’m so damn impressed. The Armored Saint centers on a village of people who live subservient lives to the Order. The Order is a group of religious tyrants that do horrible things to the wizards in this world, or to the people that are protecting and/or harboring the wizards in this world. The Order follows the word of the Writ, which has lead them to believe that wizards have a portal in their eye, that can open the very gates of hell itself and summon devils. Our main protagonist, Heloise, is a sixteen-year-old girl who isn’t sure if she even believes the Order, but she knows that they are heartless, terrible people after her and her father have a run-in with them at the very start of this story. The Order appears to just be cruel for the sake of being cruel, but many of the villagers in Heloise’s community believe in the words that Order preaches, including her very own father. “Because the Writ tells us, girl. Because the Order reminds us. The devils are real, and they are terrible, and we must be ever vigilant for their return.” Heloise and her village are put in a situation where they have to make a sacrifice, after they’ve already been forced to make so many, or to risk everything to protect their community. The story really takes off from there, and we also get to see a mysterious ranger, an inactive war-machine, and even a magical mouse! But this is also a story about discovering and embracing your sexuality. Heloise is constantly questioning her feelings for her best friend, and it made me cry so many happy yet sad tears. This is a beautiful tale about a girl coming to terms with her queerness in a world that thinks it is unnatural, and it is so very important. This story truly means more to me than I can express in words. Heloise is easily one of my favorite female protagonists of all time, and I will continue to say what I say in every queer SFF review I write: we need more stories like this! This story is so utterly heart-wrenching, but it’s so important. “That’s what love should be, sure as stone, as running water. Sure as the bite of winter and spring blossoms. Sure even when it was impossible. Even when they were both girls.” And love is such a driving force in this very character focused story. The love between families. The love between friends. And the love between two young girls who are just trying to learn who they are. “No. It is a person you love. Not a name. Not a she or a he. A person in all their shining glory. There is a thing in us, Heloise. A seed. It makes us who we are. It is our core. That is the thing we love. It alone exists. It alone is holy. It has no home, no name. It is neither male nor female. It is greater than that.” Now, excuse me while I go cry for the rest of this night, because I’m not sure if I’ve read anything as beautiful as that quote. This book has such a lyrical prose. The writing is so fantastic and adds even more to an already perfect story. And Myke Cole does this in only 200 pages. This is the first thing I’ve read by this author, but it won’t be my last. This book is little, but it is oh so mighty. And it has completely captured my heart. Please give this book a try when it releases on February 20th, 2018! “Never be sorry for loving, Heloise. No matter who it is, no matter how it is done, no matter how the person you love receives it. Love is the greatest thing a person can do. Most go their entire lives knowing only ritual and obligation, mistaking it for love.” Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    On sale now! Unfortunately it's a weak 3 stars for me, maybe 2.5. I'm an outlier here, so if you love the idea of a young, idealistic, and passionately impulsive gay character fighting against evil religious oppression in a medieval setting, this book will be right up your alley. Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: In Heloise’s land, the foremost rule of the Order is clear: “Suffer no wizard to live.” For the exercise of magical powers, it is said, will open a portal to hell through On sale now! Unfortunately it's a weak 3 stars for me, maybe 2.5. I'm an outlier here, so if you love the idea of a young, idealistic, and passionately impulsive gay character fighting against evil religious oppression in a medieval setting, this book will be right up your alley. Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: In Heloise’s land, the foremost rule of the Order is clear: “Suffer no wizard to live.” For the exercise of magical powers, it is said, will open a portal to hell through the eyes of the wizard, allowing devils to come through and wreak destruction among men. But all sixteen year old Heloise can see is the oppression of the religious Order, which allows its Sojourners and Pilgrims to bully and oppress the common people. Anyone even suspected of using magical powers, or protecting those who have such powers, is immediately executed by the flail- and chain-bearing Order members, who act in the name of the Emperor. Heloise Factor lives with her parents in the small medieval-type village of Hammersdown, where families are named for the father’s profession: Factor, Trapper, Fletcher, Grower, and so forth. Heloise’s best friend Basina Tinker comes from a family of metalworkers, who form metal ox yokes and other items for the villagers. But the Tinkers also create secret weapons and war-machines under Imperial commissions, like giant suits of armor that give the wearer immense strength, speed and endurance. When a cruel Sojourner, Brother Tone, forces the villagers to participate in a manhunt, killing innocent people accused of engaging in (or harboring sympathy toward) wizardry, or even just being a person with a mental disability or such a person’s relative, Heloise rebels against Brother Tone and the Order. Her actions spark a village rebellion that may prove the destruction of her family and even her entire village. Myke Cole’s The Armored Saint (2018) is a magical fantasy set in a harsh, unfair medieval world. It’s a familiar type of setting and, personally, it wasn’t a world I particularly cared to experience. The sadistic, quasi-religious Order members who embody the Emperor’s brutal government were distasteful and play into anti-religious stereotypes. Like Inquisition agents run amok, the Order terrorizes and murders villagers in order to enforce the social order. The religious oppression theme is continually hammered home, bolstered by scripture-like quotes at the beginning of the book’s chapters. Heloise is a rather frustrating protagonist. She makes several questionable choices due to her immaturity and impetuosity, gravely endangering her family and her entire village as a result. She’s tremendously passionate, but not terribly bright, at least not in a practical sense. Heloise is nonetheless a sympathetic character, coming of age in this story and coming to terms with her feelings toward her best friend Basina, which is all in a furtive Love That Dares Not Speak Its Name kind of way, due to their culture. Basina is betrothed to a village lad, and it’s not at all clear that she feels anything more for Heloise than deep friendship. But The Armored Saint is ultimately very affirming of Heloise’s sexuality:Never be sorry for loving, Heloise. No matter who it is, no matter how it is done, no matter how the person you love receives it. Love is the greatest thing a person can do. Most go their entire lives knowing only ritual and obligation, mistaking it for love. But you have loved truly, as few can ever hope to do. This pain you are feeling is a triumph, Heloise.This is Message Fiction, which clearly has its place, but it’s not a subtle message. Still, The Armored Saint is a novel that may be helpful to the self-acceptance of teens who are gay or otherwise feel marginalized. I give The Armored Saint props for one seriously eyebrow-raising twist that I in no way expected. Unfortunately the reader isn’t given a full explanation for why and how this event occurs, but maybe that will be disclosed in the sequels. The second book in THE SACRED THRONE series, The Queen of Crows, is scheduled for publication in October 2018. I was given an advance copy of this book by Tor for review. Thank you!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Orient

    Million 💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜 After seeing wonderful reviews for this book on GR, had to try it! Special thanks to Petrik who got me infected with "Armored Saint". What an amaztastic short read. Loved it, all of it! The characters, the pace, the worldbuilding and of course the and the juicy Can't wait for the next book to come out! P.S.WARNING: LGBT traces.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    3 1/2 stars. The most important question on whether or not I can enjoy high fantasy, at least for now as I’m still a newby, is whether or not I can engage in the narrative. High fantasy is an enjoyable genre, but sometimes, the longer and slower of the genre make me forget. Or my mood will. And this novella-length fantasy novel with an incredibly engaging story is the perfect example of entertaining and fast-paced high fantasy. Okay, let’s break down why this novella works so well. note: This r 3 1/2 stars. The most important question on whether or not I can enjoy high fantasy, at least for now as I’m still a newby, is whether or not I can engage in the narrative. High fantasy is an enjoyable genre, but sometimes, the longer and slower of the genre make me forget. Or my mood will. And this novella-length fantasy novel with an incredibly engaging story is the perfect example of entertaining and fast-paced high fantasy. Okay, let’s break down why this novella works so well. note: This review contains two spoiler sections, both marked with both tags and don’t-read-this notes. →thematic concept and ideas, p.ii← There are a lot of ideas in this novella, but the basic concept can be summed up like this: it’s about how oppressive groups systematically perpetrate marginalization, and how bystander culture is used by these groups to stop pushback. “Did we have to do it?” she asked. “No,” he answered, his voice breaking, tears falling into his beard to turn the flakes of ash to gray slush. “No, child. We didn’t.” He took a deep break then spoke again. “And making us complicit means we will never call them to account for the crime.” It’s so easy to make a population complicit in their own oppression, to force them to be complicit and ignore the suffering of those around them. The thing I thought was most interesting about this novel is how - yes, this is a spoiler - (view spoiler)[two character’s being queer and them being wizards are integrated as parts of the plot. It's sort of an interesting narrative and I'm interested to see where it goes! (hide spoiler)] →worldbuilding and concept← The world isn’t the focus, but it’s clearly built to criticize a deeply religious and discriminatory culture. The metaphor of this strict religious dictatorship is used sort of as a metaphor for queer oppression, which is clever. The world is not the focus of this novella, but it’s used well, tying into the themes of oppression perfectly. Never be sorry for loving, Heloise. No matter who it is, no matter how it is done, no matter how the person you love receives it. Love is the greatest thing a person can do. Most go their entire lives knowing only ritual and obligation, mistaking it for love. But you have loved truly, as few can ever hope to do. This pain you are feeling is a triumph, Heloise. I will say that I’m not personally into the typical oppressive-world concept and don’t tend to adore grimdark fantasy. Constant brutality isn’t my thing and I sometimes think it goes down the path of torture porn. But I felt good about this novella - it walks the line very well between happiness and torture, grief and hope. But this one is kind of brutal with a bunch of death, so just be aware of that going in. →plot and story structure← This novella is structured so well. It’s difficult to give a novella such a clear arc of development and such excellent pacing, not too fast and not too slow, but I think Myke Cole achieved that. Unfortunately, one hangup: I felt sometimes that the plot was a bit unconnected. Specifically, the author tries to use a magic structure as a plot twist, and it felt a bit clumsy to me. From other reviews, I’m getting that the author does this because he’s trying to consciously subvert several genre constraints of adult sff, which is a fantastic idea, but I haven’t read enough adult sff as of yet to really recognize those points. [I mean, I enjoyed it anyway, so…?] Overall, though, I was a huge fan of the plot anyway. This book never really went where I was expecting, but still felt like a fairly logical progression. Events felt both out of nowhere and sensical. I never stopped feeling engaging in the narrative and didn’t really want it to end [okay. my slump wanted it to end.] →character development← The character development here is so great and it makes this novella such a shining gem. Heloise is an impulsive teenager who also doesn’t feel annoying - she’s a flawed character who makes bad decisions and that’s okay. Her arc focuses mostly on her realization of the oppression she’s facing and also - this was the part I liked most - her discovery of her sexuality and her feelings for her best friend, Basina. These two arcs are integrated in a way that makes them feel like they’re each a part of the same story, which is exactly what I want out of character development like this. I’m really excited to see more of her saga! Yeah. Anyway. Those are my thoughts on the core aspects of The Armored Saint and why I found it, on the whole, entertaining. Something I noticed critique of in this book is - spoilers, but this might be worth knowing for lgbtq reviewers - (view spoiler)[the #buryyourgays trope (hide spoiler)] . I have… thoughts. First of all, yeah, it’s an accurate criticism. (view spoiler)[There’s a sapphic lead, one queer mentor, and one possible love interest, and then two of those characters die. Wish that were changed (hide spoiler)] . BUT I will say that it didn’t bother me personally for a couple reasons. (view spoiler)[It feels less like baiting and switching and more like those first books where the childhood love and the father figure both get fridged so the protagonist has to rely on themselves. [Which I literally think I’ve only seen happen to male characters until today?] Maybe it also helped that I was as warned - like you’re being right now, hmm? (hide spoiler)] So yeah, that’s a warning I’d add to the book, but it didn’t feel exploity to me personally [a Huge Sapphic]. Again, totally fine if you hated or loved it! That’s just how I felt. update 11/5: unfortunately, book two of this series did not work as well for me - you can find my review here. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.9* of five I have a confession to make right off the bat: I didn't request this book. My Tor.com Publishing contact, knowing I am big on books with queer representation, figured I'd like this and sent it along. I looked at it in some surprise because it's by Myke Cole, The Shadow Ops-superhero-y military SF guy. If you've paid me the smallest bit of attention before now, you know I detest superhero-y crap and am only enjoying milSF from a gay-male PoV these days. I was a history major. Rating: 4.9* of five I have a confession to make right off the bat: I didn't request this book. My Tor.com Publishing contact, knowing I am big on books with queer representation, figured I'd like this and sent it along. I looked at it in some surprise because it's by Myke Cole, The Shadow Ops-superhero-y military SF guy. If you've paid me the smallest bit of attention before now, you know I detest superhero-y crap and am only enjoying milSF from a gay-male PoV these days. I was a history major. I've had my fill of battlefield stuff for its own sake. Talk to ME, the elderly queer gent, not the strategist/armchair general, or I got better uses for my eyeblinks. Author Cole, I am profoundly sorry I pigeonholed your work. I was wrong to do so and I'm glad to learn the error of my intolerant ways in so pleasant a fashion. This fantasy world is deeply satisfying. It's oppressively ruled by a military/religious Order, but run in time-honored community-based democratic ways. Being staunchly anti-religion, that setup is one I'll buy into immediately. I'm not insensible to its relevance to the current state of affairs in our current US, our very own Russian satellite state, either, though that is not to ascribe my beliefs to Author Cole. I am not acquainted with him and make no representation that what *I* take away from his work is what he intended that I take away from it. That disclaimer being made, moving on. The basis of this story is simple: How does a person, raised in a world that does not jibe with the True North on their inborn moral compass, survive and live and love in it? Can that happen without a struggle, a fight, a battle, or even an outright war? (MAJOR SPOILER: Nope.) What does it take to be authentically yourself in a world that dislikes you for being who you are? Preview; the rest goes live on my blog tomorrow.

  8. 5 out of 5

    TS Chan

    I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars. A superbly well-crafted gritty story with memorable characters, tight pacing and vivid prose in just over 200 pages, The Armored Saint is one of the best novellas I've ever read. 200 pages are not exactly short by any standard for literary fiction. In fantasy, however, where stories are told in a secondary world complete with its own lore and history, social and political structure, it does not provide a lot of ground I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars. A superbly well-crafted gritty story with memorable characters, tight pacing and vivid prose in just over 200 pages, The Armored Saint is one of the best novellas I've ever read. 200 pages are not exactly short by any standard for literary fiction. In fantasy, however, where stories are told in a secondary world complete with its own lore and history, social and political structure, it does not provide a lot of ground to deliver a complete and balanced narrative. One that sufficiently addresses the necessary aspects of fantasy storytelling of worldbuilding, character development and plot execution. The Armored Saint has all these and with great effect too; and while it is mainly for the reasons above that I am awarding such a high rating for the book, the tale itself is captivating. The world of The Sacred Throne is oppressive despite having a history of a saviour of all mankind, The Emperor who sacrificed his life in defeating the demons who arrived on this plane through portals; portals from the eyes of those who practised wizardry. The Writ is the sacred text by which the people of the land live by and enforced through the tyrannical rule of The Order who hunts down anyone whom they deem as a wizard with zealous fanaticism. To further highlight the level of obeisance expected, villagers are named by the nature of their trade instead of having a family name of their own. The author managed to weave all this exposition into the narrative in a manner which felt natural and effortless, a feat which I find quite marvellous given the length of the book. The story grabbed me from the very first chapter, through a scene that is full of tension and yet feels personal through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Heloise Factor. The plot is pretty much a coming-of-age story and is straightforward. It is its execution that lends the narrative a most engaging tone that keeps the pages turning. By keeping the plot simple, and the locality narrow, the author is then able to expand upon the characterization of Heloise, her relationship with her father, her friendship with Clodio, and the ‘unnatural' love she felt for a close female friend. It is a person you love. Not a name. Not a he or a she. A person in all their shining glory. There is a thing in us, Heloise. A seed. It makes us who we are. It is our core. That the thing that we love. It alone exists. It alone is holy. It has no home, no name. It is neither male nor female. It is greater than that. The concept of love transcending definition and gender was beautifully described, giving the story a spark of hope amidst the dark brutality and injustices represented by The Order and their strict administration of the Writ. Myke Cole also clearly has the ability to write action scenes that convey suspense that is palpable. The concluding climax in The Armored Saint is brutal, intense and poignant, albeit not entirely unpredictable. I am wholly impressed with this novella and look forward to its continuation, The Queen of Crows. This review can also be found at Booknest

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    RELEASE DAY 02/20/2018 I received this book from a NetGalley wish Reading Gemini Cell sent me on a bit of a reading frenzy towards the end of this year. It was fresh and different and I queued the entire series on my Kindle and then thrilled to see that Cole had started his next series. Armored Saint is a medieval, grimdark fantasy and a fresh and exciting addition to the genre. It was also my favorite book of 2017 The Armored Saint is action in concert with tension and there is a lot to love RELEASE DAY 02/20/2018 I received this book from a NetGalley wish Reading Gemini Cell sent me on a bit of a reading frenzy towards the end of this year. It was fresh and different and I queued the entire series on my Kindle and then thrilled to see that Cole had started his next series. Armored Saint is a medieval, grimdark fantasy and a fresh and exciting addition to the genre. It was also my favorite book of 2017 The Armored Saint is action in concert with tension and there is a lot to love about it. I want to highlight my four favorites though: 1) the way Cole writes women; 2) world building and consequences; 3) the clarity of action and combat; and 4) love. the pain and grieving giving over to something else. Anger....The ember was small, but it grew quickly, and it felt so much better than sorrow. First- I continue to be impressed with Cole’s female characters. The protagonist, Heloise, is innocent and raw. She questions her faith, her sexuality, her own strength and he managed to fit that perfectly into a grimdark book. Heloise’s rage is boiling, real and complex and it *very much* speaks to me. Her fear of a life burdened by the role of wife, \ limited in loving how/when society tells her to, reminds me of the letters between Heloise and Abelard, where Abbess Heloise said “I preferred love to wedlock, freedom to bond.” Her lion-like response to protect friends, family, and the weak makes the reader cheer for her all the more. I could’ve used a heroine like Heloise in my life when I was younger- she is the Joan d’Arc with a war machine and engine that I would’ve carried in my heart through some rough years. I’m still thankful to have had this time with her; it’s going to be a hard wait for book 2. Second- The Shadow Ops/Reawakening series worked so well because Cole deftly translated his military experience into urban fantasy. With Armored Saint, he brings his considerable study of history to bear, making the world and the Order just as real and just as tangible as his other series. The Writ has the perfect cadence for a holy text. The Pilgrims with their flails and dogma call to mind Templars and flagellants with a dark crusade. He nails the feel of an imperial religion down to the prayerful responses of the villagers. Characters are never spared from their actions, they and those around them have to face the consequences of thought and deed. More than that though, he manages to encapsulate true weariness. I’ve found weariness to be particularly tricky; weariness sits in your gut differently, you carry its weight differently than fear or exhaustion, and Cole does it justice. “Did we have to do it? She asked. “No,” he answered, his voice breaking, tears falling into his beard to turn the flakes of ash to gray slush. “No, child. We didnt.”... He took a deep break then spoke again. “And making us complicit means we will never call them to account for the crime.” Third- Cole writes action with precision. You honestly can’t ask for better clarity outside of watching a movie in slow motion. Without burdening the scenes with unnecessary prose Cole can move multiple people in battle, describing stances, axes tangling chains, leveraging weight, the burning strain in muscle. You don’t lose the positions of the characters, you don’t even lose their footing. A giant, terrifying hell spawn can be rampaging, and you feel the flow of battle, the twitch of instinct, muscle-memory guiding battle. I love that after reading a paragraph I can close my eyes and actually see it. Fourth- Javelin Rain sucked me in partially because it was a breathtaking love story and so is Armored Saint. No. It is a person you love. Not a name. Not a she or a he. A person in all their shining glory. The love is heady. My heart ached in my chest for Heloise, opening to herself and to others, daring to want, daring to love. Make no mistake, the world of the Armored Saint is dark, the ruling religious order terrorizes villages, wizardry can open actual portals to hell and free demons and wizard-blight to kill and poison, but love is beautiful and it is worth fighting for and it’s the force that drives Heloise, her father, Basina, all of them. This is the beginning to an amazing journey. Want to hear the author read a chapter? Here is the link to the video on Facebook The release date is February 2018. You can purchase the book Here

  10. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    "Suffer no wizard to live." The Order ensures no wizards, wizard sympathizers, or wizard harborers are allowed to live lest hell's dark maw opens once again allowing demons to walk among man. When Heloise and the villagers of Lutet are gathered to assist the Order by razing a nearby town and all of it's inhabitants, Heloise and her father defy instructions and bring the Orders' wrath to Lutet. The Armored Saint was a mixed bag for me. I was immediately drawn into the story based on the Order and "Suffer no wizard to live." The Order ensures no wizards, wizard sympathizers, or wizard harborers are allowed to live lest hell's dark maw opens once again allowing demons to walk among man. When Heloise and the villagers of Lutet are gathered to assist the Order by razing a nearby town and all of it's inhabitants, Heloise and her father defy instructions and bring the Orders' wrath to Lutet. The Armored Saint was a mixed bag for me. I was immediately drawn into the story based on the Order and their sadistic tendencies. The Order is the supreme power in the land and they do not require any reason for their cruelty. The Writ, the world's holy book written by their Emperor, demands obedience from all towards the Emperor and his Order. These are the type of characters I largely want to see brought low because they abuse their power unabashedly. The world seems to be in a permanent Salem Witch Hunt atmosphere. Any suspected wizardry brings the Order near and no one wants the Order near. After the strong beginning things go slowly and get less interesting. I won't go into major details, but the story focuses largely on Heloise and her father Samson's lack of judgment. They know the Order is cruel beyond need yet they can't seem to stop themselves from messing with them. Samson tries to lecture Heloise, but she clearly gets her rage filled stupidity from him and he has yet to learn to keep himself in check. The Order undoubtedly makes this difficult, but Samson should have taken his own advice when he said, "When a killer [any member of the Order] dumps your kit in the mud, you smile sweetly and tell him he's done right." If only Samson could listen to himself, then perhaps Heloise could learn to do the same. The book did have more than a few heartbreaking moments. Witnessing friends slaughtered by the Order was significant, but what was harder was Heloise's love interest. She's in love with her best friend Basina who's betrothed to a man. Heloise has never spoken of her love, but she thinks about Basina constantly and is massively protective of her. Young love is difficult enough for anyone, but the added factor of being in love with someone of the same sex in a world where that's likely considered an executable offense is hard to read. The Armored Saint got me excited in the beginning, but ended with me wondering if I care to continue the series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. Thank you. "Fear's a deadly thing, Heloise. It can drain a person of all their strength, make them weak before their enemies. That's how we were until you showed us different. But we see now, and we are not afraid anymore..." Heloise, a young village girl, is just that at first; fearful. In the first few pages, Heloise is privy to the horrors of the Order. The Order, an organization bent on maintaining a wizard-free world, leaves terror in its A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. Thank you. "Fear's a deadly thing, Heloise. It can drain a person of all their strength, make them weak before their enemies. That's how we were until you showed us different. But we see now, and we are not afraid anymore..." Heloise, a young village girl, is just that at first; fearful. In the first few pages, Heloise is privy to the horrors of the Order. The Order, an organization bent on maintaining a wizard-free world, leaves terror in its wake. With the opening scene, I was expecting more horrors to follow, and in that regard I was only mildly disappointed. While the tone of the first few pages faded a little as the story progressed, there were other happenings that were almost, ALMOST, up to the same standard. I would have liked a little more action in the same vein as the beginning of the story to really boost the dark tone. I really like the genre mash-up of sorts that was happening. The novel exhibited pieces of the steampunk, horror, and fantasy genres which made for a very interesting mix. I can’t say that I’ve read too many books that have done that successfully, and this book was almost, if not, there. I thought Heloise was a great character. She really evolved as the story progressed, and I liked who she was by the end. I appreciated her loyalty to her family and friends, and her “romantic” relationship. I felt that her growth, in regards to her romantic feelings, was handled tactfully and realistically. I did feel as if Heloise acted a little TOO young for how old she was supposed to be, particularly at the beginning of the novel. If that aspect of the story were to be tightened up a little, then I think Heloise would be a truly stellar character. Overall this was a strong novel. With a few tweaks, I truly feel that this could be a top-notch read. P.S. I totally got a Fallout 4 type feel with the whole armor aspect. I can’t say I didn’t like that my mind was making that connection :D

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Heloise is the daughter of a scribe in a dark medieval world rigidly ruled over by an Emperor and his religious Order. Society is rigidly proscribed under the Emperor because of the threat from wizards; people who can access magic are said to become portals through which terrifying devils can come into the world. But in Heloise's quiet village both wizards and devils are a long way off and all that really affects her are the draconian Writ and the brutal Order, which is a problem for a same-sex Heloise is the daughter of a scribe in a dark medieval world rigidly ruled over by an Emperor and his religious Order. Society is rigidly proscribed under the Emperor because of the threat from wizards; people who can access magic are said to become portals through which terrifying devils can come into the world. But in Heloise's quiet village both wizards and devils are a long way off and all that really affects her are the draconian Writ and the brutal Order, which is a problem for a same-sex attracted girl on edge of womanhood and a future as a wife and mother. Myke Cole is open about the influence that the Warhammer 40K universe had on his conception of this fantasy book and there's more than a little of that on the page here. The vigilance against devils (Chaos in W40K) and the seductiveness of them as well as the reverence for the godlike Emperor all feel very familiar, and we even get the Fantasy-world version of power armor. Ultimately the question for me is how much does this stand apart from the inspiration? I think it mostly does, partly because it does address the problems attached with the proscription around this society that can't afford to tolerate wizards and as such can't really afford to tolerate anything. Which leaves our hero in a bit of a dire state, because she's pretty clearly gay (even though she lacks the language or concepts to express it). I did enjoy this and will be interested to see where it goes next.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jack +Books & Bourbon+

    Well that was short, sweet, and to the point! And what a change of pace for me, as my epic Fantasy picks tend to be, you know, EPIC. Like, as in size, as well as in content. And while this story is a single POV tale that is set in only one main location, and with maybe a 4th of the page count of my traditional fantasy reads, it still seemed pretty epic to me. I’ve not read anything else by Myke Cole, but I plan to remedy that as soon as possible. Because whew, this guy can tell a lean & mean Well that was short, sweet, and to the point! And what a change of pace for me, as my epic Fantasy picks tend to be, you know, EPIC. Like, as in size, as well as in content. And while this story is a single POV tale that is set in only one main location, and with maybe a 4th of the page count of my traditional fantasy reads, it still seemed pretty epic to me. I’ve not read anything else by Myke Cole, but I plan to remedy that as soon as possible. Because whew, this guy can tell a lean & mean story. It’s books like these that make me super thankful for Goodreads. It is highly likely that I would have seen this book in a bookstore, and not really given it much thought, what with it being nestled in with a bunch of other similar books. But thanks to the power of Goodreads (and the solid 4-5 star reviews by GR friends) this one was on my radar, and then into my grubby little hands, pretty quickly. And honestly, I don’t lend much credence to professional reviews or author blurbs on book covers. Give me reviews by folks like me, amateur reviewers who simply love to read, and aren’t necessarily paid to read. So, do me a solid and just ignore those early low reviews. If you love Fantasy, especially new/different takes on somewhat familiar tropes, then The Armored Saint is right up your alley. Or your village common area, if we are talking in Fantasy vernacular. If you are familiar with my reviews, then you know that I have a love/hate relationship with comparing books to other books. It’s an easy way to give someone a rough idea of what they are getting into, but it can generally lead to false expectations or complete misconceptions. That said…if I had to throw a comparison out there, I’d say it’s similar in feel, if not in scope, to Django Wexler’s excellent Shadow Campaigns series. So, if you are a fan of those books already, then I can see no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy The Armored Saint. Yes, this is more Steampunk Fantasy than Flintlock Fantasy, but tone is somewhat the same, the respectful treatment of LGBT relationships are the same, and the female protagonist is well-drawn and engaging. As with all my reviews, I will keep spoilers to a minimum. With the advent of the internet, and FB specifically, along with similar services (and also movie trailers), spoilers are omnipresent, which I feel generally robs some (or a lot) of the impact of a book/movie/album. Aside from the official book synopsis, and just the overall star ratings, I prefer to avoid reading spoilers/reviews until AFTER I’ve completed a book/movie/album. I find that this eliminates most preconceived notions, and allows me to enjoy the material more. So, that said, if it’s not mentioned in the official book synopsis, I will do my level best to avoid mentioning it here. Like I stated earlier, we have a single third-person POV character, Heloise Factor, throughout the entire book. Truth be told, I generally like my books to have multiple characters, as I feel it gives more depth to the story, making it more dynamic and larger in scope. But, there are exceptions to that rule, and The Armored Saint just makes it work. It’s probably because the story essentially takes place in one general area (several townships not far removed from each other). This lends the story a slightly smaller and more intimate feel, and because the book really only dwells on the immediate goings-on (with very few references to the outside world or historical occurrences), the single POV doesn’t hurt or diminish the tale being told. It also helps that Heloise is such a likeable protagonist. Hopeful and full of questions, she’s a teenage girl on the cusp of womanhood, but still naïve to a great many things. She has a good heart and generally acts above her age, but she’s also impetuous, occasionally short-sighted, and sometimes a little selfish. Which, you know, is how teenagers roll. And yes, the “teenager saves the day” concept has been done to death, and then revived and done to death again, but she’s such a fun and enjoyable character that it’s easy to overlook. She also has a very traceable character arc and growth through the book, which I always enjoy. It’s especially difficult to read about a young character who had gone through tremendous, life-changing events, and is the exact same person at the conclusion of the tale. But Heloise actually grows and matures as the pages unfold, and that was immensely satisfying. Supporting characters are a mixed bag, going from somewhat pertinent to the story to simple window dressing, but none of them are given much backstory or elaboration. That’s not to say that they aren’t likeable or enjoyable…there’s just not a lot of detail there. Again, this is Heloise’s story, so we view everything from her eyes, her perspective. What was rather cool, though not entirely unique, was how each of the townsfolk's last names were of their trade/occupation. I mean, that would be awkward in today's society; I think people with names like Herbert Proctologist or Janice Body Coach would just be weird. And then what if they changed jobs? How would you go about finding them? But, in this book, it was just kind of neat. The villains, such as they are, are actually pretty effective. They aren’t traditional story villains, as their main tenets of belief (and which they use zealously and brutally to keep the population in check) are actually true…they just go about enforcing those beliefs in the worst possible ways. There is another villain who ultimately becomes the story’s big bad, but the less said about that creature the better. It’s not something you expect, so I don’t want to spoil it. I mentioned it earlier, and it bears repeating, this is a pretty insular tale. Everything takes place in, or near, Heloise’s village. But don’t let that fool you. This is still a pretty grand and rollicking tale, regardless of the lack of varied locations. It’s not as epic a tale as something from Sanderson or Martin, but it still packs a hefty punch. It’s a mini-epic! It also doesn’t necessarily play out like you think it will, which gives it a wonderful feeling of newness. I also just enjoy Myke Cole’s writing. It’s detailed without being over-wordy, he handles both action and quieter moments well, and he doesn’t gloss over the brutality or the danger of the times. There are moments in the book that aren’t for the squeamish (he seems to have a fixation on intestines), but it’s still generally on the more tame side of the fence. For you action fiends out there (I’m raising my hand too!), there’s a bit here, though I was hoping for a bit more. The big action scene is satisfying, and the buildup is good, but I do like a little more fighting in my Fantasy stories. There are a few gripes I have with the book, though they are minor. First…it’s just too short. I wanted more. It feels like the story barely gets going…and then we are done. I also would like a little more history as to why things are the way they are. We get excerpts from holy writ and some minor exposition from the older characters, but not enough of either. There is also a moment, a BRIEF moment, where it feels like the story is veering into late-night Skinemax territory, but it quickly rights itself and moves along in a satisfying fashion. Not that this kind of thing doesn’t happen in Fantasy (Rand’s harem in WoT, for example), but it just seemed like all the goodwill the book had established was in danger of being ruined. Thankfully, it was only a minor pothole on an otherwise pretty smooth road. I’m also not thrilled that I now have to WAIT for the next book to be published, but that’s the gripe of any reader who starts a series when it’s first released. So…ignore that little whine & bitch moment… Ultimately, I loved The Armored Saint. It was refreshing, it never overstayed its welcome, and it makes me excited for what is to come. Now that some of the groundwork has been laid, I fully expect the next book to be bigger, with more detail and history, in addition with more action and more stakes. If you like Fantasy, pick this one up. You’ll finish it quick, and you’ll likely love the ride. Now…come on book 2!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Eames

    I loved this book. It was my first novella, and I feared I'd feel like I only read half a book, but Myke tells a wonderful story here, with beautifully realized characters and effortless worldbuilding. To paraphrase Luke Skywalker: "This is not going to go the way you think it will," since there's a twist or two in here as well. All in all, fantastic--I eagerly await the next!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Short and at times brutal. Ending with a cliffhanger :( Ovde nema šta puno da se kaže. Grim dark fantazija koja u relativno malo scena uspeva da prikaže ovaj svet, klase i sistem funkcionisanja, mitologiju i relatvno velik broj likaova a da ni u jednom momentu ne smara. Tempo je dobar, akcije ima na kašičicu ali bude odlično opisana i vrlo bolna. Jedina dva minusa su kraj koji završava prva ark knjige ali sama priča je daleko od gotovog a drugi su same korice. Ženska u njima izgleda bad-ass ali on Short and at times brutal. Ending with a cliffhanger :( Ovde nema šta puno da se kaže. Grim dark fantazija koja u relativno malo scena uspeva da prikaže ovaj svet, klase i sistem funkcionisanja, mitologiju i relatvno velik broj likaova a da ni u jednom momentu ne smara. Tempo je dobar, akcije ima na kašičicu ali bude odlično opisana i vrlo bolna. Jedina dva minusa su kraj koji završava prva ark knjige ali sama priča je daleko od gotovog a drugi su same korice. Ženska u njima izgleda bad-ass ali ona treba da je oko 14~15 godina tako da izaziva očekivanja koja nisu ispunjena. Ja mislio da će biti neki time skip posle prvih par poglavlja ali da kraja toga nije bilo. Sve u svemu vrlo zabavno ali možda najbolje sačekati da izadje cela priča pa onda navaliti.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anton

    Hmm... I was really looking forward to this release. I had no luck with ARCs so waited patiently for the publication date and read it on my Kindle as soon as it came out. In summary, I would score it 3.5|5.0. I enjoyed it enough to finish but wasn't charmed away and unlikely to pick up the sequel(s). The strongest parts of this book for me were: (1) Format. It is nice and brief - 200 pages or so. Either a long novella or short novel. I have a particular soft spot for brief fiction. Not too short (2 Hmm... I was really looking forward to this release. I had no luck with ARCs so waited patiently for the publication date and read it on my Kindle as soon as it came out. In summary, I would score it 3.5|5.0. I enjoyed it enough to finish but wasn't charmed away and unlikely to pick up the sequel(s). The strongest parts of this book for me were: (1) Format. It is nice and brief - 200 pages or so. Either a long novella or short novel. I have a particular soft spot for brief fiction. Not too short (20-50) pages but not sprawling monstrosities either (700+). Armored Saint was hitting my sweet spot marvellously. (2) World/Setting. Lots of clever, stylish elements. Some bits are fresh and inventive, others are pleasantly familiar. (3) Characters. Strong wilful female protagonist. Colourful support cast and vile antagonists. Bits I struggled with: - Pacing. Despite the short length, the story dragged for me 40% of the way. I had to push myself to stay on track. - Magic. The author is violating Sanderson's Laws and it diluted my satisfaction of the last 25% stretch. It is no fun when magic solves everything. - Plot twist. Yes, I was caught by surprise - but I did not enjoy it. It felt slightly random to me: out of a sudden heroic fantasy plunged into horror. Again, more thinking around the application of Sanderson's Laws could have helped perhaps? - A tone of voice. It felt that author is undecided whether he writes for a YA audience or an adult reader. So the book stuck somewhere in between. Arguably, both groups can enjoy the story but neither may find it entirely to their satisfaction. I must confess that I dislike the same thing about Robin Hobb's writing too - but I am in an obvious minority on this. So you may see it glass half full instead. I sense that my remarks may be more critical compared to other readers. So check out other reviews for balance. While I don't think this is the best thing 'since sliced bread' - it is still a good quality story, well written with some major strength going for it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lilly (Lair Of Books)

    Safe to say I’ll be following this new series to the depths of the earth! EPIC read! Full RTC on Lair Of Books (Link is in the bio). Pre-ordering my finished copy, The Armored Saint hits shelves 2/20/18 🔥 UPDATE: FULL REVIEW MAY ALSO BE VIEWED ON LAIR OF BOOKS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 STARS!!! MY REVIEW... I’m singing this books praises to you all today cause it is well worth it & so much more! coming in at 208pgs, The Armored Saint has to be one of the top Fantasy books I’ve read in a really long time. Set in Safe to say I’ll be following this new series to the depths of the earth! EPIC read! Full RTC on Lair Of Books (Link is in the bio). Pre-ordering my finished copy, The Armored Saint hits shelves 2/20/18 🔥 UPDATE: FULL REVIEW MAY ALSO BE VIEWED ON LAIR OF BOOKS ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 STARS!!! MY REVIEW... I’m singing this books praises to you all today cause it is well worth it & so much more! coming in at 208pgs, The Armored Saint has to be one of the top Fantasy books I’ve read in a really long time. Set in a small town, we meet Heloise and her father Samson as they go about their every day routine of earning their living. Samson is a man of letters & travels light with only his quills, paper, and ink pot. It is during one of their travels down the road that they encounter The Order who are the equivalent of soldiers, these men are to serve the throne & rid evil from the world. It is believed that demons on the other side of the living world can possess humans. When The Order stops Samson & Heloise it is to ask them for directions to a neighboring town. Seeing them out in full force is never a good sign & this scene pretty much set the tone for the rest of the book. We got to know both Heloise and Samson in that brief interaction & all of the events that took place after that encounter felt like a domino effect. The fear that these characters feel is palpable & the tension is so thick that I read this book at the edge of my seat hoping they’d all make it through. I realized that I wasn’t the only one, all of the townspeople were hoping they weren’t next to be accused of harboring demons… “Suffer No Wizard To Live” The “Veil” is compromised and so The Order must make rounds looking for those that show signs of being possessed. The townspeople follow the law or the ways of The Writ which is sort of like their bible & anyone caught speaking against it can be accused of being possessed by demons. I totally got The Crucible vibes while reading certain passages where the townspeople out of fear were made to look unto their neighbor for any behavior that wasn’t considered “normal.” The Order however, isn’t some by the book group of men looking to do good & banish evil. They abuse their power & hide behind the royal banner. Perhaps what makes them even more evil than the demons they’re trying to excorcise is that they don’t actually get their hands dirty when they find said evils. Instead they have what are called Knittings & no they’re not the kind your sweet grandmother partakes in…these are much more scarier. When someone is accused of being a wizard, The Order comes through lining up all of the towns people & under their order the people must take up pitchforks to kill the accused. Failure to comply places you & your loved ones in jeopardy of being accused of protecting a wizard & harboring evil magic. The characters in this town have all known each other for many years & their children have all grown up together. Up until the day The Order came around their town, Heloise spent her days with her bff Basina talking about their futures. Her biggest fear was the more than platonic love she felt for Basina. However, on the road where she & her father faced The Order, Heloise was forced to age years in a matter of minutes. She saw her father in a new light, he was no longer the pillar of strength & safety every good father works so hard to have their child believe. He was just a man keeping his head down in order to keep her safe. The rebellion this stirred within Heloise led to what many considered reckless but in her defense, it seemed like it was out of her control whether she reacted or not. Heloise was someone who grew up believing in The Writ & what they did to rid the kingdom of all evil. When she starts seeing their actions in each town, it’s like a veil is lifted and the part of her that seeks justice takes over. I truly thought this was just going to be a story about herd mentality and how easy it is to instill fear in a group of people to establish control. It is the aforementioned, however it’s also a story about heroes. Many of the characters in this story were actually selfless in time of need. Heloise wasn’t someone who fooled herself into thinking she could save everyone from The Order & many others who didn’t think they’d sacrifice their own safety to help another in need, stepped up to the plate. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book! the characters & world building were so well fleshed out. The fantastical/supernatural elements made their presence known yet they didn’t overpower the characters. When we finally get to see truths come to light, I was left pleasantly surprised. There’s also discussion about sexuality & the judgment of others in a world where homosexuality is not accepted. With a bi-sexual MC and one of the supporting characters alluding to being Gay, I found myself getting very invested in Heloise & her journey. The Armored Saint is a FANTASTIC start to a new adult Fantasy series! & Myke Cole is now on my radar which means, I’m going to need to read all of the books I hope he’s already writing 😄 HUGE thanks to Tor Books and Myke Cole for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

  18. 5 out of 5

    ~Dani~ LazyTurtle's Books

    Read this review and more at Book Geeks Uncompromised. So...wow. This book is just a hair over 200 pages long and it hit me hard. The people in Heloise's world live under constant fear of wizards, who they have been told just by doing the smallest bit of magic can inadvertently tear open a portal to hell. Because of this, their Empire quickly strikes wherever there is even the barest whisper of magic and they do so in a horrific manner. "Her father was lying, not just to her, but to himself. Worst Read this review and more at Book Geeks Uncompromised. So...wow. This book is just a hair over 200 pages long and it hit me hard. The people in Heloise's world live under constant fear of wizards, who they have been told just by doing the smallest bit of magic can inadvertently tear open a portal to hell. Because of this, their Empire quickly strikes wherever there is even the barest whisper of magic and they do so in a horrific manner. "Her father was lying, not just to her, but to himself. Worst of all, he expected her to repeat the lies, to act as though up was down of her own free will. It was a stupid, wicked way to live, and the smoke still smudging the darkening sky showed her how it ended." You know the beginning to pretty much every epic fantasy story where you are introduced to a MC that lives in a quiet little village but then a Big Thing happens that sends him off on a grand adventure? This book is basically solely that beginning section. Instead of rushing the MC off onto a grand adventure, The Armored Saint lingers there and concentrates on the emotions of a person's small world being ripped apart. Also, the MC is a she. And I feel like for this particular story, that is important. Heloise is a teenager that begins the story somewhat like Ariel from The Little Mermaid with constant insistence that she is a grown up now but still likes to sneak off to giggle with her best friend and make impulsive decisions. But in this short 200 pages, her character goes through so much and grows so freakin' much that the Heloise at page 205 is nothing like the Heloise at page 1. I don't know if I have ever seen so much character growth in the giant tomes with pages number in the 4 digits and Myke Cole manages that growth wonderfully. Though the book is short and so much happens in it, nothing ever feels forced. I honestly don't know that I have seen such great character development in series that take place over thousands of pages as I have in this single book. Okay, Dani, so Heloise is great. What else? There is also some great commentary on society in general, I think. Heloise's father is very quick to say that other an neighboring village should cast out a man that has caused trouble but when the tables are turned is very quick to beg for the same mercy he said should be denied to another person. This was not something that a lot of time was spent on in the book but I really was drawn to this statement that it is really easy to say how other people should be handling a situation when you have never been there yourself. I also loved that Heloise is in love with another teenage girl. Fantasy and sci fi for sure need more LGBT characters in them but in many cases I feel like when they are there, their story is kind of forced or doesn't flow well with what else is going on in the story. Here though, her struggle to come to terms with her love for another girl in a world that violently opposes it I felt worked perfectly in tandem with the rest of the story. Beyond that, this is a story about bravery, loss, and growth. It is about zealotry and doing something because "that's the way its always been done." The story leaves off very open-ended for the next one but I was so immensely satisfied by this book and its ending that I think it stands perfectly well on its own. It's only January so I don't want to start naming my 2018 favorites but I am finding that the more I think about this book, the more I love it. So this one just may make the list.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Collins

    The Armored Saint is the new novella from Myke Cole (Shadow Ops) and the beginning of a new fantasy trilogy, The Sacred Throne. The publication seems to be part of Tor’s novella series, but at 208 pages, it reads more like a short novel than a novella. No matter what you call it, though, Cole makes the format work exceptionally well with tight prose, a close third-person single narrative, a condensed story world, and intense conflicts all stuffed into a smaller-than-door-stopper package. As most The Armored Saint is the new novella from Myke Cole (Shadow Ops) and the beginning of a new fantasy trilogy, The Sacred Throne. The publication seems to be part of Tor’s novella series, but at 208 pages, it reads more like a short novel than a novella. No matter what you call it, though, Cole makes the format work exceptionally well with tight prose, a close third-person single narrative, a condensed story world, and intense conflicts all stuffed into a smaller-than-door-stopper package. As most readers are aware, there is not enough time to read all the great fantasy and sci-fi available, and I have been wanting to read some of Cole’s highly regarded Shadow Ops series, but never got there. So I was glad to be given a chance to read and review the beginning of this new series, which looks to be a good one. The Armored Saint follows the story of Heloise, a teenage girl living in a quasi-medieval village on the outskirts of an extremely oppressive empire under the rule of the religious Order and their Holy Writ. The job of the order is summed up in one line from the Writ: “Suffer no wizard to live.” The Order gallops around from village to village dispensing brutal justice on anyone suspected of wizardry or any village suspected of harboring a wizard. The Order is relentless and, even worse, accountable only to themselves. True to the short-form novel, Heloise and her father, Samson Factor, encounter the Order in the story’s first chapter. They stop Heloise and her father on the road. The effect is truly frightening, setting the mood for the entire story, and the hook, the inexorable, gripping, frightening conflict, of the story is set, never to let go. While some, perhaps many, longer novels sag in the middle, get muddled down with seemingly irrelevant subplots, long descriptions, and/or episodic events, The Armored Saint has no time for bullshit. The story races along like a forest fire. When Heloise sees her friend murdered by the Order in a horrifying “Knitting” of a nearby village, she is determined to fight back. She is joined by her village who are fed up with the oppressive Order and skeptical about its intentions. Only Heloise knows the real secret that need to be protected from the Order to save her friends and family. But does she really know everything she thinks she knows? There are twists and turns aplenty, especially for such a short novel, and as should be expected, the whole fucking thing blows up in an explosive, magical, and pleasantly unexpected climax. Cole’s prose is fast and direct. There’s no space for self-indulgence here; the author/narrator almost disappears behind Heloise’s thoughts and actions. Characters’ voices, dialogue, and language are consistent and diacritical, which helps create a distinct feeling for the culture of these villagers without the need for a lot of exposition. Cole also uses dialogue to move the story along briskly while adroitly avoiding info-dumping. The effect is a very fast moving tale, full of energy, excitement, and the type of character depth one would expect from a full-length novel. It’s not perfect, though. Heloise’s mother, Leuba, who appears sparingly in the story, is particularly without description or voice, a mere placeholder for a character, but that’s part of the tradeoff between a lengthy tome and a densely packed short novel. Despite its short form, The Armored Saint is replete with thematic significance. Readers must ask themselves what rights do authorities have to govern people in extremely dangerous situations, a theme that seems extremely compelling given the expanding role of government in the so-called War on Terror. The nature of forbidden love and sexual attraction is called into question as well, with surprising results. Loyalty is another significant theme that drives the action in The Armored Saint: at what point are family ties in conflict with the good of society? Of course, the role of sexuality and gender in a male-dominated society is also explored. Are women worthy of traditional male roles in society, and why must it always be men who raise them to such positions (with the highly significant exception of Kameron Hurley’s The Stars are Legion—see review in GdM #11)? These are complex questions that are significant both in fiction and with regard to the resurgence of a global women’s movement. Heloise joins a seemingly rising number of young, tough-as-nails female protagonists written by male authors in grim fantasy, including Nona from Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister, Thorn from Joe Abercrombie’s Half the World, and Pyrre from Brian Staveley’s Skullsworn. And Heloise is not alone in this story. She has other female friends, which separates The Armored Saint from a lot of old school fiction that features female characters who only relate to male characters, like the nearly non-existent female characters in The Lord of the Rings and the powerful but isolated female characters in A Game of Thrones, which shows that male writers are starting to “get it”: women are literally Half the World. I wonder if Heloise will continue to be the featured protagonist of The Sacred Throne trilogy; I can think of no reason why she shouldn’t. She is a complex, flawed, sympathetic character with huge balls... uh... I mean, gonads. If anything, she might be too ‘good’. Which brings us to the big question. The Armored Saint is billed by its publisher as the start of “a new epic fantasy trilogy.” It remains to be seen how grimdark purists will receive it. Heloise and her father are ‘good’ people; there can be little argument about that. Because this is only the first entry in a trilogy, we cannot know yet if good will triumph over evil, but I expect it will. However, even though I enjoy grimdark as a favorite subgenre (IMHO) and love the morally grey sentiments that are central to it, I am very much looking forward to revisiting these complex characters and this terrifying world in the next installment in this gritty, dark, brutal, grim, fearsome but perhaps merely ‘epic’ series. Highly recommended. The Armored Saint is expected to be released by Tor.com Books/Tom Doherty Associates on Feb 20, 2018. Our thanks go out to the publishers for sending us an advance copy. Review by malrubius to be published in GdM#14.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scott Sigler

    I was at Seattle ComicCon, shooting the breeze before my signing. I started talking with the bookstore owner about — what else — books. She asked what kind of things I would like to write that I hadn't already done. I said something to the effect of: "Well, I've always had this cool idea about medieval mechs, like some kind of wandering knight errant that travels from town to town, except instead of wearing a suit of armor, he's in some kind of mech suit." The bookseller looked at me for a moment I was at Seattle ComicCon, shooting the breeze before my signing. I started talking with the bookstore owner about — what else — books. She asked what kind of things I would like to write that I hadn't already done. I said something to the effect of: "Well, I've always had this cool idea about medieval mechs, like some kind of wandering knight errant that travels from town to town, except instead of wearing a suit of armor, he's in some kind of mech suit." The bookseller looked at me for a moment, as if I was joking. "Have you read Myke Cole?" she asked. "Of course I have," I said. "He's a good friend of mine, I love his stuff." She pointed to a stack of thin tomes sitting on a display table, the covers showing a black-haired girl in a rather BIG suit of armor. "Well, he already wrote it," she said. The first thing I did was curse Myke Cole's name. That's okay, I do that quite often. The second thing I did was buy the book. And let me tell you, this book kicks some serious ass. I supposed someone could claim this is YA fiction, if YA fiction includes a coming-of-age story about an emo teenage lesbian protagonist who drives a steam-driven suit of mech armor, smashes skulls, kills devils and starts a rebellion against an all-powerful religious sect that would kill her on the spot just for being who she is. This book is not your typical hero's quest. It sucks to be Heloise. She takes more damage than Bruce Willis in DIE HARD, and these aren't the kind of bombs and bruises one can heroically shrug off. Physical damage, emotional scarring, mental trauma — Heloise has to absorb it all and find a way to keep fighting. This is hard-hitting military fantasy, something Myke excels at. If the words "medieval mech" caught your eye in even the slightest way, just get it and thank me later.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Janet Martin

    I wanted to like this book, as there is a lot going for it. I wasn't able to overcome the extraordinary stupidity of the main viewpoint character--16, going on 6. Every single bad thing that happened in the story was the result of Heloise's stupidity and headstrong selfishness. I, and most of the girls and women I have known in my life, are smart enough to know when to fight and when to shut up. Heloise destroyed the lives of everyone who ever tried to help her and a bit of bravery at the end wa I wanted to like this book, as there is a lot going for it. I wasn't able to overcome the extraordinary stupidity of the main viewpoint character--16, going on 6. Every single bad thing that happened in the story was the result of Heloise's stupidity and headstrong selfishness. I, and most of the girls and women I have known in my life, are smart enough to know when to fight and when to shut up. Heloise destroyed the lives of everyone who ever tried to help her and a bit of bravery at the end wasn't enough to make me as a reader have any respect or liking for her

  22. 5 out of 5

    Holly (Holly Hearts Books)

    "Being brave isn't not being frightened, it's doing a thing even though you are." My eyes are literal waterfalls.. These kinds of books make me rethink ALL of my previous recent ratings. HOW can a 200 paged grimdark epic fantasy do that?! I haven't got a clue. Also I need to mention this is the most pro LGBTQ+ book I have ever read in my life so if you are looking for a female main character finding herself in a brutal world that wants to draw the line at love (and all things wizardry) PICK THIS "Being brave isn't not being frightened, it's doing a thing even though you are." My eyes are literal waterfalls.. These kinds of books make me rethink ALL of my previous recent ratings. HOW can a 200 paged grimdark epic fantasy do that?! I haven't got a clue. Also I need to mention this is the most pro LGBTQ+ book I have ever read in my life so if you are looking for a female main character finding herself in a brutal world that wants to draw the line at love (and all things wizardry) PICK THIS UP! Also action packed, heart wrenching, unputdownable.. all the things.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marielle

    Very much enjoyed this book and I will definitly read the next.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Geek Furioso

    Esperaba más. Siendo como es mi primera lectura de Myke Cole, creo que me esperaba más contenido militar y si acaso un poco más de acción. No puedo ser especialmente duro, ya que doscientas páginas dan para lo que dan. Así a bote pronto, no puedo evitar pensar que es un fanfic de Warhammer (servoarmadura de Marine Espacial incluida) con más personajes LGBT, que sería ya de por si lo suficientemente alucinante si no fuera por (view spoiler)[ el "Kill Your Gays" doble que se ha marcado matando a Cl Esperaba más. Siendo como es mi primera lectura de Myke Cole, creo que me esperaba más contenido militar y si acaso un poco más de acción. No puedo ser especialmente duro, ya que doscientas páginas dan para lo que dan. Así a bote pronto, no puedo evitar pensar que es un fanfic de Warhammer (servoarmadura de Marine Espacial incluida) con más personajes LGBT, que sería ya de por si lo suficientemente alucinante si no fuera por (view spoiler)[ el "Kill Your Gays" doble que se ha marcado matando a Clodio y a Basina (hide spoiler)] Tal vez sea por la brevedad, pero el personaje de Heloise no me ha llamado particularmente la atención. Me ha dado la sensación de que ha permanecido quieta casi todo el tiempo, sólo saltando a la acción en las últimas veinte páginas. Que todo se diga, en un libro que se llama "la Santa Acorazada" pues me espero un poco más de chicha. Se ha sentido todo demasiado introductorio, demasiado corto. Seguramente lea también la secuela, porque de verdad espero que haya algo más.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jon Adams

    4.7 I'm taking off .3 stars because I needed a longer book. I want more! Damn, that was a helluva ride. This is almost a completely different book than what Cole usually writes. I say almost because the only similarity is the damn good writing. Set aside some time. You'll want to finish it in one sitting. I really feel like I should more to this, but I'm still in awe. Read it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lukasz

    It’s the first Mike Cole book I’ve read and I’m not sure if it’s representative of his style and themes he touches in his books. The Armored Saint gest good reviews and I can agree with many reviewers that there’s a lot to like in this book. The world painted in the book isn’t particularly happy. The Empire lives in the fear of devils who can come through the portal opened by the use of magic. Such portals can be placed in the eye of a wizard. An Order ensures that no wizard will live to summon It’s the first Mike Cole book I’ve read and I’m not sure if it’s representative of his style and themes he touches in his books. The Armored Saint gest good reviews and I can agree with many reviewers that there’s a lot to like in this book. The world painted in the book isn’t particularly happy. The Empire lives in the fear of devils who can come through the portal opened by the use of magic. Such portals can be placed in the eye of a wizard. An Order ensures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. The act of Knitting is bloody and cruel. The book protagonist, young girl Heloise witnesses a horrendous slaughter that makes her question the Writ (holy book) and the Order. It seems the Order may abuse their power for petty reasons. The world and its customs are introduced in a swift, skillful way that helps the reader to instantly get a grasp of customs, society, religion and the intrigue. There’s no info-dumping. We learn about the world through Heloise impressions and reactions. Events force her to face and challenge her beliefs about the life, love and the religion. Heloise has a heart in the right place but due to her short temper and recklessness, her decision making is poor. Actually, the book wouldn’t happen had Heloise managed to behave like a thinking human being. Sadly, oftentimes she acts before thinking and then cry or becomes sad. Well, girl, try to think. It doesn’t hurt. Not really. It’s worth noting that the book touches the theme of embracing her sexuality. There’s no sex but Heloise comes to understand that her feelings toward her best friend may be something more than just a friendship. This world isn’t friendly to gay people, so this internal conflict adds another layer of depth to Heloise. Having said that, I don’t think she’s particularly complex character. She’s emotional and reckless and her actions are misguided. I was mostly irritated with her. Other characters feel well sketched but they’re not fully fleshed out. They feel a bit like characters from an action movie – they have a role to play but they remain a bit stereotypical. As a result, characterization is suffering a bit and is the weakest point of the book. The plot plays a bit with tropes and our expectations about the direction it’ll take. I have to say the final twist was surprising, although I wasn’t thrilled with it. Overall, The Armored Saint is a fun and quick read that pulls no punches. It’s brutal. It’s fast. It’s like a shot of espresso. As long as you don’t overanalyze it and just go with the flow, it’s entertaining and page-turning goodness. While I’m not crazy about the book, I plan to continue with the series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Executive Summary: I've been a fan of Myke Cole for awhile, but this is the first book of his I've really enjoyed. I prefer a single novel to a trilogy of novellas, but I'm enjoying things so far. Full Review Myke Cole came on my radar a few years back thanks to Sword & Laser. Eventually I picked up his first book Control Point. I liked it enough to finish that trilogy and read the first book Gemini Cell of his prequel series. Eventually I stalled out though. The military aspects of those boo Executive Summary: I've been a fan of Myke Cole for awhile, but this is the first book of his I've really enjoyed. I prefer a single novel to a trilogy of novellas, but I'm enjoying things so far. Full Review Myke Cole came on my radar a few years back thanks to Sword & Laser. Eventually I picked up his first book Control Point. I liked it enough to finish that trilogy and read the first book Gemini Cell of his prequel series. Eventually I stalled out though. The military aspects of those books seemed very realistic. Maybe a bit too realistic. I found many of the characters unlikeable and the events of the books hard to read at times. When this book was announced I was excited because it sounded more my speed. I'm not a huge fan of dark fantasy these days, but it's still more in my wheelhouse than military/urban fantasy. I didn't realize this was going to be a novella at the time I pre-ordered it. So when it arrived I was a bit surprised at how short it was. As a big fan of epic fantasy which are often characterized by overly long door-stopping tomes, I was a bit underwhelmed. I'm not sure I'm a fan of the recent trend of novella trilogies. All that said, I enjoyed this book a lot. Apparently it's been influenced by Warhammer 40k. A friend told me its influence is VERY heavy. I've never read any of those books or played the tabletop game, so I had no idea. As such I found the world building pretty interesting. Most importantly however I really liked Heloise as a protagonist. She could be a bit juvenile for a teenager, but she also seems to live in a bleak world where I probably wouldn't be in a hurry to grow up quickly either. As always, I love a good magic system. We get some hints of it here. From the very start the idea of magic is evil. The premise of the series revolves around it. I found myself wondering is magic really like the law and rumors say, or is that all a lie? For me that was the most interesting thing to find out. I still have a lot more questions about it however (and many theories) so I hope we get more answers in the next 2 novellas. Despite its short length, I thought Mr. Cole does a good job in setting up the world and building (an albeit very obvious) conflict that will likely carry the rest of the series forward. There are some pretty good supporting characters in the book along with Heloise that I thought rounded the story out well. In particular I liked her friend Basina and Basina's father. One of my major issues with his previous books was I didn't really like most of his characters, and I'm happy to see that wasn't the case here. Overall, I think this may be Mr. Cole's best offering so far, especially if you're not a fan of military fantasy. It's a dark story, but well written and I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes things next.

  28. 4 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    The Armored Saint is disappointing. Considering the hype around it as well as the current goodreads ratings (4+ stars), the reality of the book is very different. For one, the story is superficial as well as trite. The second (and bigger issue) is how the writing never seems to draw the reader in. When I was reading it, I never once felt anything for any of the characters. In fact, Heloise, the main character, turns out to be a whiny spoilt brat of a girl who screws up over and over again. And t The Armored Saint is disappointing. Considering the hype around it as well as the current goodreads ratings (4+ stars), the reality of the book is very different. For one, the story is superficial as well as trite. The second (and bigger issue) is how the writing never seems to draw the reader in. When I was reading it, I never once felt anything for any of the characters. In fact, Heloise, the main character, turns out to be a whiny spoilt brat of a girl who screws up over and over again. And the supporting characters actions' never seemed right in light of what Heloise does. The third issue is that I don't think a novella works for setting up an epic fantasy which Myke Cole appears to be shooting for. Now, coming to the one thing that I liked about this book is Heloise's unabashed sexual preferences. It is refreshing to see that a main character like this but this comes across as a calculated move from the author - the prime reason being that this seems to be shoe-horned in. So, in conclusion, this will probably be the last Myke Cole book that I will read given my experiences with his other books (one) too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    Pretty interesting grimdark fantasy with a twist. Cool action and fantasy, very character driven without much of a pacey plot. Sometimes I have found these TOR novellas a little thin on world building but this didnt seem to suffer from this issue. The pace was my biggest issue. It was just up and down. The ending was a little annoying, cool twist but suffers from a simple type solution in a way. Will be inetersting to see where Cole takes this in the next 2 books. I liked the magic system and th Pretty interesting grimdark fantasy with a twist. Cool action and fantasy, very character driven without much of a pacey plot. Sometimes I have found these TOR novellas a little thin on world building but this didnt seem to suffer from this issue. The pace was my biggest issue. It was just up and down. The ending was a little annoying, cool twist but suffers from a simple type solution in a way. Will be inetersting to see where Cole takes this in the next 2 books. I liked the magic system and the characters alot. Packs a punch in its 200 pages.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bram

    A medieval society where the clergy has taken it upon itself to drive out wizardry by force to protect the people from the demons this will eventually draw out. They take to this task with gusto and indiscrimination, much like the Inquisition did in the middle ages, revelling in their self-righteous power and asserting their dominance every chance they get. Story In this context we meet Heloise, a 12 16 year old girl woman that lives in poverty together with her father, helping him apply his trade A medieval society where the clergy has taken it upon itself to drive out wizardry by force to protect the people from the demons this will eventually draw out. They take to this task with gusto and indiscrimination, much like the Inquisition did in the middle ages, revelling in their self-righteous power and asserting their dominance every chance they get. Story In this context we meet Heloise, a 12 16 year old girl woman that lives in poverty together with her father, helping him apply his trade as a writer. One day when they are travelling to the next village, they meet the Order (a bunch of religious pricks that keep the people down under their iron boots, by divine right - and the power of their weapons) on the road and everything seems to go downhill from there. All in all the story is quite simple and doesn't really need me to write much about it lest I spoil the experience. Characters The Armored Saint has a relatively small cast, with Heloise as our main protagonist. The story is written entirely from her point of view, a thing that isn't always best and in this case it actually bothered me quite a lot. If I had known that this was a YA novel before I started, I probably never would have picked it up. As I didn't know, I did, and I am now reminded why I don't read YA. Heloise is a 16 year old woman (a woman grown even, the book goes to great lenghts to remind us of this fact multiple times using that exact same wording EVERY. DAMN. TIME.) who I would have pegged as an 11 year old girl after meeting her (and now knowing her age). The way she thinks and acts does not match her age. A fact that is demonstrated from the get-go as in the opening scene we see her do one stupid thing after another, showing a staggering lack of self-control or any common sense. It got me sighing and eye-rolling almost instantly. In fact, it's this erratic behavior of hers that's actually driving the plot throughout the entire book, because if she would have behaved sensibly right there and then, nothing would have happened. In fact, there's numerous points in the story which could have ended the story immediately if only she would think before she acts. There's a lot of "I couldn't control myself even while knowing it was a stupid thing to do", but that's just what self-control is. Her not being able to control herself is more consistent with an 11-year old child than with a 16 year old adolescent. I've come up with a name for this kind of thing. There's books that are character driven, or story driven, well this one is stupidity driven. There wouldn't be a story if she acted smarter. The other characters are all more interesting than Heloise, but since we only get to see them through her eyes, there isn't much to be learned there. She idolizes her father, has a major crush on her best friend, pities her mother and adores the travelling merchant. Her crush on her best friend, who happens to be another woman grown, takes up about 25% of the story and is so incredibly cringeworthy like only a YA novel can be. Mind you, it would be just as cringeworthy if her crush would have been a boy grown. More eyerolling ensued. World-building Despite my ranting in the previous bit, I'm glad to finally turn to something more positive. Myke Cole paints a world that, despite not being very original, feels very real and very grim. The Order rules by Divine right and is all-powerful. Their job is to root out wizards, because they carry within them a portal to hell, through which demons would come to enslave mankind. So all in all, a noble cause. Sadly, they're also a bunch of power-hungry asshats who use their power and status to keep the population controlled and serving their every whim. Yet this does match up with human nature, sadly, and it's all executed very believeable. The steampunk asset was also a nice touch, although I did find that there was very little of this used in the everyday lives of the villagers. We see early on that the tinkerer (steampunk-blacksmith) has a device that helps animals in pulling heavy loads, but other than that, we don't get much evidence of steampunk stuff being used to help with chores or anything, without there being any explanation on why this is so scarce. Still, A+ worldbuilding. Writing Another thing that I enjoyed, was the writing. Myke Cole has a very fluid way  of describing scenes and progressing the narrative. Only downside here was the fixed first person POV. Conclusion Storywise, this wasn't a bad book. The worldbuilding and writing are on point, but sadly the protagonist is an idiot, which completely ruined my experience. Then again, for people who like YA and are used to this kind of character, this probably is a great book. So take my rating for what it is, my personal experience with it, and not indicative of what yours will be. 2 stars, because it mostly hit all the required checkboxes for a good read despite not entertaining me.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.