Sunday, March 24, 2013

Knife-Sworn - Tower and Knife #2 - Mazarkis Williams

Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Nightshade Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 346
Format: e-book

Source: Netgalley

After spending most of his life in captivity, Sarmin now sits upon the Throne of Cerana. But his reign is an uneasy one. And the emperor’s own heart is torn between two very different women: Mesema, a Windreader princess, and Grada, a lowborn untouchable with whom Sarmin shares a unique bond. In times past, a royal assassin known as the Emperor’s Knife served to defend the throne from menace, but the last Knife has perished and his successor has yet to be named. Sarmin must choose his own loyal death-dealer . . . but upon whom can be he bestow the burden of the Knife-Sworn?


(There may be some minor spoilers in here)
Williams writes with the same magnificent prose as in The Emperor’s Knife. I really love her writing, it’s so complex, so deep, intimate and lyrical. For both The Emperor’s Knife and Knife-Sworn this is a big plus. But this isn’t a book you can read easily, due to the complexity Williams puts in her writing, you really have to keep  your head in the game ‘cause otherwise a lot of information will get lost on you.

The book got off to a rather slow start, with a lot of random scenes describing the aftermath of the destruction of the Pattern and the Pattern Master on the people and on Sarmin. We meet the two new additions to the imperial family and there are some new mysteries introduced, this all mixed with a background of military, political and religious tactics. It could have used a stronger beginning to grab the attention of the reader right at the start, but I’m all for giving books a chance, so I read on without complaint.

It took a while for the story to get a grip on me. In the first book I never really had a connection with the story, though it fascinated me. Around page 100 of “Knife-Sworn” I was finally drawn in and it didn't let me go. I don't know what changed, but there was some sort off click that made me immerse myself in the story. It was much easier to keep reading and to feel emotions while reading some of the chapters. Especially the chapter where Sarmin sees the memory of Gallan and how that ended really touched me. The unfairness of it all, the cruelty left a deep impression on me.

Knife Sworn is, just as its predecessor, an intriguing and fascinating book. The author resolved the problem of the pattern at the end of the first book, but not all is well in Nooria. First all were connected with each other through the pattern, sharing grievances, pain and joy alike, but now everyone's abruptly alone again. This loneliness haunts the citizens of Nooria and it is referred to as "the Longing". People take drastic measures to escape this longing (suicide, drugs,...), but out of the desert comes an old faith, banished from Cerana years ago, promising to unite the people once again. But is there truth in this promise? And with people desperate for a new connection with their fellow Unpatterned, is there any way to stop it when there's something darker beneath the smooth words of the Mogyrk priests?
To top it off, The Longing is not all the Pattern has left behind. At each anchorpoint used by Helmar for his Pattern, a nothingness is consuming everything in its path. What is it, and can it be stopped?

Lots of intrigue and mystery in this second book of the Tower and Knife series, just how I like it. And this time I did connect with some of the characters. Williams gave more dimension to her characters, showing sides that were hidden in the first book and created more depth.
The author sets yet again a scorching pace, with twists and turns every few pages, throwing obstacles on our character's paths and introducing questions that trouble character as well as reader. Though in the first book the pacing was a bit too fast to my liking, I had no problem with it this time. 

I really enjoyed “Knife-Sworn”, more so than I did “The Emperor’s Knife”. This shows to me that Mazarkis Williams is only growing with every new book and I’m hoping the third book “The Tower Broken” will be even better. I’ll certainly be reading it as soon as it hits shelves (or if I’m lucky and I can snatch up a review copy somewhere, even sooner!)



  1. As always amazing review from the number one Fantasy lover in the whole world, sure I will read this sires (because of your reviews) .

    P.S. I wonder where can you find it over Netgalley? I have never found Mazarkis Williams's books there :) ...

    1. Thanks Nevey! You're so sweet ^^
      I got Knife-Sworn on Netgalley last year, it's archived by now, so you can't find it anymore. It took me a while to read it because I was waiting 'till I could buy the first book "The Emperor's Knife".
      I'm glad you liked the review!