I’m coming with another blogtour at you, because I know how much you love my reviews. This one has kindly been organized by our favourite Dave by The Write Reads. Thank you for the opportunity.
Never stake more than you can afford to lose.
When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament. Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war…
TL,DR: A good adult fantasy novel with interesting characters and proper world building. While the pacing was a bit slow at times, it was still easy for me to stick with this book and to get excited about twists and the secrets the book promised.
I will start this by calling myself out and saying that I don’t have the best track record when it comes to fantasy novels written for adults. Mostly there are too many characters, the pacing is too slow, the worldbuilding too vast and the writing is to complicated for my tastes. Let’s just say, that I usually get rather bored when trying to read a book of this genre. And believe me, I have tried.
So, I have actually no idea why I decided to say yes, when Dave asked me, if I wanted to join the blogtour. Maybe it was the really interesting sounding blurb. Or maybe it was temporal insanity. I don’t know.
The good news is, that I enjoyed this book.
The writing style is what helped me with this. I’m used to fantasy novel being written in old fashioned prose that makes it hard to follow but the writing flows nicely and makes it easy. The pacing is a bit slow, so we only get to the tournament in the second quarter or third, I think. It gets better towards the ending of the book.
I thought the political system was really intersting and the worldbuilding fascinating but a bit confusing. The world of the cardsharp, the main character’s “business”, was highly interesting. I don’t really know much about cardgames but I didn’t think that there was so much that would go into this. I loved reading these sections.
The characters were fascinating but nothing all too special or out of the ordinary in my opinion. Valen, Marguerite (Valens wife), Teneriève and Jacquemin are the four main protagonists in this story and the Squad, so many people are talking about in their reviews.
I quite liked Valen, althought I doubt you could really call him the hero of the story. Valen and Marguerite’s relationship seemed unfortunately a bit bland. Teneriève is a feisty female character who has a lot of banter with the former pirate Jacquemin going on which brought some humor to the story. Every character brought something of their own to the table.
The book doesn’t lack action but I think that the synopsis gives quite a lot away which ruins the suspense, in my opinion.
All in all, my first real dive into adult fantasy was a success. I don’t know if it will become something I will read a lot more but for somebody who wants to dip his or her toes in, The Knave of Secrets is surely a good point to start.