Seven Faceless Saints (Seven Faceless Saints, #1)

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3.7 (3)
 
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Seven Faceless Saints (Seven Faceless Saints, #1)
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
February 07, 2023
ISBN
978-0316386883
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Discover what’s lurking in the shadows in this dark fantasy debut with a murder-mystery twist, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kerri Maniscalco.

In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.

After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit…and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.

Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?

Editor reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.3(3)
Characters
 
3.7(3)
Writing Style
 
3.0(3)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A(0)
Great Romantic Tension
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Seven Faceless Saints is an intriguing world of magic, war, religion, and injustice within a murder mystery. The story is told mostly from Damian and Rossana’s viewpoints. The characters are complex, and while it is easy to see they will go from enemies to lovers we are still presented with great buildup and reversals throughout.

Rossana (Roz) is driven by vengeance and grief after her father’s head is delivered to her family. Ombrazia is a country at war and her father just couldn’t stand to fight anymore and tried to run from the frontlines making him a deserter. It is further complicated by the fact his former childhood friend was the one who carried out the sentence and happens to also be the father of her childhood love, Damian. She then gained magical powers making her a Disciple (descendent of one of the seven gods) but instead of feeling blessed, she uses her position to help the rebellion.

Damian never was cut out to be a soldier, but as someone born without magic and his father a general, he was sent and has had plenty of PTSD since his return. He is given the job of solving the murder of one of the Disciples, and he will be sent back to war if he fails. He and Roz reluctantly work together to solve the murders which helps keep them in proximity and high emotional situations to hash out their past and rekindle their relationship.

I did find it interesting the author chose for their past to be so wrought by tragedy directed by their actions. It made more work for the author to make it believable because it is easy to understand why Roz would hate Damian in the part he played in her father’s death and less believable that she would so quickly fall back on old feelings. However, the author does a nice job of building their tension and making their makeup swoon-worthy.

It takes a bit of time to understand the magical religious system that is unjust and the mysterious murders. While that is supposedly the focus, Damian is so off-kilter by Roz and his nightmares that the murder evidence seems to fall into their laps and things happen quickly to reveal the murderer and the significance behind the murders instead of any great sleuthing on their parts.

The ending has quick resolutions in some regards while other things are clearly left for the sequel. The author’s big reveal was not what I was expecting and there is high intrigue regarding Damian and what magic he may have unlocked in himself. I look forward to reading the next book to see what happens.
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Seven Faceless Saints by MK Lobb review
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
There was a lot of things this book got right. The story, the mystery, the magic system - all of that fed into what I love about Fantasy books. I really enjoyed this whole story of Damian trying to solve the murder(s) happening while also trying to keep from going back to war. The rawness of his grief is so present on the pages and the stress of the importance of solving this case. What is happening with the murders? The mystery surrounding what was going on was great. And the magic system. Magic based on seven saints that bless people creating them into disciples while some may be unfavored because they never posses that magic. While some of the basic prejudices were very much present in the book, it worked.

Then there was Damian and Roz. Friends to enemies to working together? Well please, we know where this is going and I loved every second of it. While they tried so hard to deny what was there, I really enjoyed their relationship and how they worked together. They make sense and even their actions and consequences made sense. I thought they were very well flushed out.

My issues with the book, I think may come from an editing stand point. Please keep in mind that I had an advanced copy so some these things could have changed with the final product. But oh my goodness, some of the repetitiveness got to me. I am very much aware that Roz's fathers death had traumatic consequences and it was just overstated, so many times. The other issue I had was that it was so obvious what was happening but none of them could figure it out? While I didn't get the clues of the poison or the eyes, I thought it was pretty clear what was going on. I did not guess the person so I did like that twist but the big plan behind it all... I just don't know why it took so long and it wasn't even that they figured it out. It was revealed to them.

But I really enjoyed this book overall and I'll definitely be continuing it. I can't wait to see what happens next and how Damian and Roz's relationship continues. I think the ending really built up well to create a second book giving it so many options.
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intriguing YA fantasy
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
SEVEN FACELESS SAINTS is a YA fantasy/mystery. The story is told primarily from two perspectives, that of Damian and Rossana (Roz). Once friends, they are now practically enemies. Roz lost her father when he was executed for desertion in the holy war happening in the north against the disciples of Chaos. The details of his death have enflamed a hatred in her for what the saints stand for as well as the Palazzo structure and Damian for his family's part in it. She has some magic, and as such, she is a disciple - in her case, of Patience. However, she only holds this position of privilege for what it allows her to do - her heart is with the rebellion and those people who have not been blessed with magic and are instead forced to fight in their wars and live in poverty.

Damian is the head of the Palazzo security, and under his watch a disciple of Death has been murdered. He is told to investigate and figure out who is behind it under threat of being sent back to the warfront. As he tries to figure out what happened, he notices a connection with the deaths of some unblessed people. Roz is looking into those deaths, and they decide to work together. As they do, their old feelings begin to rise.

What I loved: The mystery and world here really drive the story and were intriguing. The investigation is slow and done mostly in secret with plenty of information to be uncovered. While there is not much in terms of questioning others, it is mostly learning little facts through examination. This plot is complemented by some thought-provoking themes around religion and the way religion is used to oppress, power/status, war and its consequences, and family.

Religion is a big theme here, and the rebellion has formed against the way that it is employed. While there may be something true about the religion with the magic and embodiment of the power, there are definitely ways in which it has been twisted for the gain of a select few. The rebellion became a smaller theme later in the story, but this was definitely a powerful one, suggesting the need to speak/act out against injustice even when it benefits you directly.

Damian and Roz have solid history that is revealed throughout the story, and it is this that propels the romance, with a bit of a second-chance flair. They are each compelling in their own ways, overcoming the tragedies of their past and still dealing with the emotional and mental consequences.

What left me wanting more: The pacing felt a bit off with some parts seeming really very slow and circumspect while others were really fast and the text very blunt. There are times when things could be better inferred by the reader but were spelled out in a way that felt a bit jolting. This may be improved in the final copy, as it really takes the reader out of the story in places. There were also some big reveals that did not seem as though they were led to as well, which leaves readers scrambling back to try to figure out who they were. This made some of the big reveals/emotional moments fall a bit flat. This is vague so as to avoid spoilers, but hopefully also to be improved in the final copy.

Final verdict: SEVEN FACELESS SAINTS is an intriguing YA fantasy that will appeal to readers who enjoy mysteries and second-chance romance.
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