Today is my stop on The Write Reads blog tour for Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingstone. This is a fantastic book in which we follow Valen and his crew as they try to pull of a heist that may be more than what they gambled for, as the stakes seemingly get higher and higher.
Thank you so much to The Write Reads and the publisher for sending me an ARC of the book (which is featured on my Instagram today – linked below).
Let’s get into it, shall we!
A twisty tale of magicians, con artists and card games, where secrets are traded and gambled like coin, for fans of The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Mask of Mirrors.
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…
ESCAPE score: 46
Valen, Ten and Jaq formed a formidable trio of card sharps who each had their own lives and stories. They were all very complex and I think that their backgrounds not only informed who they were but helped feed into the plot. Specifically Ten and Valen’s with their magic abilities. Some of the other POV characters were also very interesting but I just didn’t feel as connected to them as I did the main trio, which I think came from a lack of background information on them. Simply because we were sort of thrown into their POV with no extra knowledge. However, they did all help to inform the plot which was interesting.
The plot was full of so many layers to it that were slowly revealed as everything got more and more intense. This is what the additional POV characters added to the book as they allowed the reader a greater insight into what was happening in the wider world. Showing us things that Valen, Ten and Jaq would have no idea was going on. It was a twisty book filled with high stakes and games with more than just money, or in fact secrets, on the table. With a plot that developed to take over a larger and larger scope the more that our three cardsharps discovered!
The writing was well-paced and detailed and I was thoroughly engaged for the entire book. The world itself was slowly explained but I never felt confused by the world that Alex Livingstone has created. In addition, I really enjoyed the whole magic system and I thought that it was really well developed and fitted seamlessly into the world and was used in ways that made sense to the plot.
Alex Livingston grew up in various quiet New England towns before moving to Buffalo, NY to study English at Canisius College. He writes SFF prose and interactive fiction. Alex is married and lives in an old house with his brilliant wife and a pile of aged videogame systems.
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