So I finished reading Anna Smith Spark’s The Court of Broken Knives today.
Because a few people asked me about it, I decided to share my thoughts here.
As usual, I hesitate to call this a review.
Instead, I will share my thoughts.
It will be biased.
This is something of a divisive book.
Like Mark Lawrence, I have read 5 star and 1 star reviews.
Some delighted people have devoured it in one sitting, and other disgusted people have stopped reading it after a few chapters.
Delight and Disgust.
Now I buy a considerable number of books each year, but I still live on a limited budget so those same reviews inspired me to add it to my Amazon wish list, remove it, and then add it again.
It had actually re-landed high on my wish list when I won it on facebook…
Of course, Brandy and I had just decided to start reading the Stormlight Archive which took a considerable amount of time…
But then I got to it.
Okay… Thoughts time.
Anna Smith Spark (as you can see on twitter) is the self-proclaimed (others have also proclaimed it) Queen of Grimdark Fantasy.
To that I say…
Hail to the Queen, baby.
She is a phenomenal writer.
She uses words like damn Shakespeare (a claim I can make because education reasons).
The book switches tenses a few times between chapters, a fact I thought would jar me, but freakin’ didn’t. Instead, it provided insight and perspective.
Her words, like the broken knives in her courts, are often jarred loose from sentences. Fragmented. Immediate. Repeated. Repeated. Repeated.
It makes the story vital. It gives it a need to be communicated. Urgent.
And there is a lot of urgency. and pain. and death. death. death.
Back to our protags.
Marith – Homicidal banished emo prince. Demon-spawn hellthing. Distant relative of Dragons. Junkie. To quote a friend, “World’s Nastiest Murder Man.” But he is so beautiful.
Thalia – Ex-high priestess. Performed human sacrifices (including children – though none on the page I can think of. As a father with young kids, I don’t know if I could have stomached that). In love (maybe) with Marith. Discovering a whole new world.
Orhan – Government official. Wants to murder the emperor. Ends justify the means kinda guy. Marriage of convenience to a badly disfigured woman (poor thing). Not-so-closeted homosexual in relationship with another government official. Plagued by his conscience.
I can honestly say, I didn’t expect the story to go as it went. To be fair, I didn’t super know where it was going to begin either… I went in with little to no background on the plot.
It kept me guessing…
Or at least I would have been guessing if I wasn’t so busy reading.
My prediction: future authors will rip off her style.
So why 4/5 stars if I loved it?
Because the people I’m barely acquainted with on Facebook are the only people I can tell to read it. I know no one in real life who I think would enjoy it. Well…who would read it long enough to enjoy it. It is a 5 Star Book… [this is an edit while reading through the post. Knocking off a star for that seems stupid. I’m’a just give 5 stars…There. Done.]
It’s brutal. Death is the answer to every problem.
So…if none of that turns you off. Buy it. I gave you the link above. Read it. And then leave YOUR thoughts on YOUR blog…and on Goodreads.
Also, I truly look forward to the sequel.
Thank you, Miss Smith Spark, for this book.
Not only for the copy you sent me, but also for the story.
You are an exceptional storyteller.