by Katie Roman
Psst – The cover is a link
Branded a witch and exiled after a dishonorable display at the king’s annual tournament, quiet Grace Hilren is forced to uproot her life of luxury as a lord’s daughter and move to the slums of the port city, Glenbard.
But Grace carries a secret.
Though trained to be a fine lady, she also learned to handle a sword and has made it her mission to eradicate evil and injustice where she finds it. Even in exile, Grace continues her work under the given name of Death Dealer. Her nightly deeds bring her to the notice of the self-proclaimed King of Thieves, Marcus.
When the king’s power is threatened by a rival named Mac, the Death Dealer unwittingly becomes a pawn in the struggle between thieves for control of the lower city. The game becomes dangerous as Grace realizes she may not be able to best this usurper.
To begin with, I felt this story was rather stiff and somewhat formal and it took me a while to get into it. As the world of the courts was left behind, however, that formality too melted away and I found myself completely and utterly lost in the story, unwilling to put the book down for any reason.
I loved that Grace isn’t some fully competent ‘warrior’ woman, but that she’s trying to make good use of the skills she’s gained, and that she willing to admit her weakness’ and learn along the way. She might be a little foolhardy and naïve, at times getting in over her head…but she’s not stupid or foolishly stubborn like other ‘independent’ heroines I’ve read. I also enjoyed reading about someone who wasn’t a ‘loner’ or completely ‘tough as nails’. There is a strength to her and she works hard…and she’s human.
The world created by Katie Roman was great too. The dirt, the mud, the smell of vomit and the calls of merchants beyond the temple walls. There’s politics and religion but nothing overtakes the story and makes you feel as though you are lost in the who’s who of Kings and lessor rulers. There’s just enough to create a ‘reality’ in the world.
I really did enjoy this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy world.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ – 4 stars
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