Nov 13, 2012

Book Review: Knife Sworn by Mazarkis Williams

Book Cover for Knife Sworn by Mazarkis Williams
Title: Knife Sworn
Author: Mazarkis Williams
Series: Tower and Knife Trilogy #2
Genres: Fantasy

Publisher: Night Shade Books
Source: NetGalley
Format: ebook
Pages: 365
Publication Date: November 13, 2012

Check it out at: Amazon | Goodreads

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?

I read 'The Emperor's Knife' (first book in this trilogy) last week. If you have read my review, you probably noticed that although some concepts and ideas were very original, when you calculate all the flaws the book was just an average read to me.
So I tentatively started reading 'Knife Sworn'. After all this book would be a deal-breaker to me, it will decide if I will continue to read this series or give up.

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the 'Knife Sworn'. It's surprising to see how much Mazarkis Williams's style matured and improved in a year. While I was reading, I felt like he read my review and worked on all the things that really bothered me in 'The Emperor's Knife'. Of course that is not possible, except if he does not own a time traveling machine. :)

All the good things from the first book are still here in 'Knife Sworn': character driven story and show don't tell principle of writing. But switches between different points of view are not so sudden anymore. There is less tension because of chapter per character concept, but I feel it was worth it, because the story flow feels much smoother now.

Whose point of view we now have, since half of them were killed in the first book?
Sarmin is the main storyteller of course. He is now the emperor and he tries to applies all those ideals of peace to his country. To spice up the things and give us some different perspectives and views of events, we also have Grada, Nessaket and Rushes (a servant girl).
You all for sure remember Grada. I complained how I simply could not understand insta-love between Sarmin and her. I hoped that listening to story from her point of view would help, but I still don't understand and do not like her very much.
Nessaket, on the other hand, was a real surprise. We get to know what drives her actions and I think that you could never look at her and think of her as power-grabbing stops-at-nothing b...h again. Mazarkis Williams really managed to breathe a soul to her character.

'Knife Sworn' touches some interesting subjects. It shows us that seizing and getting control of the empire is the easy part. Healing & ruling it fairly are the hard ones.
What will Sarmin do, when the best advice he gets is: "You should find a new place, Sarmin emperor. This one is undone."
"How a man who could not rule himself might speak for a nation and heal the emptiness that threatened to consume them all"?
Read the book to find out. ;)

This book does not end in real cliffhangers but there are a lot of revelations and new decisions in the end that I can't wait for the next book to be released. I need to find out what will happen next!

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I recommend this book to: lovers of high fantasy or fantasy in middle-eastern setting.

Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher Night Shade Books via NetGalley in exchange for a review.


  1. I've heard some pretty decent things about this series, but I remain undecided, unsure whether I should read it or not. I love that the second book outshined its predecessor, but the fact that the first was just average worries me some. I'm not much for high fantasy, although I've read a few lately.
    Great review!

    1. This series reminds me most of 'Throne of Crescent Moon' series, if you read that one. Maybe I should add similar books section. :)

      It is better to wait and see what will happen in the next/last book before reading, especially if you are not high fantasy fan. :)


Design by | SweetElectric