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The Tainted City

(Shattered Sigil #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  810 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Dev is a desperate man. After narrowly surviving a smuggling job gone wrong, he’s now a prisoner of the Alathian Council, held hostage to ensure his friend Kiran — former apprentice to one of the most ruthless mages alive — does their bidding.

But Kiran isn’t Dev’s only concern. Back in his home city of Ninavel, the child he once swore to protect faces a terrible fate if he
Paperback, 402 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Night Shade (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  810 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
(Can anyone look at the cover and not read the title as Tilted City?)

This was a 'review' by proxy since my wife nabbed the book on arrival. When she finished she declared it was even better written than The Whitefire Crossing (which she loved) and where was book 3 ...?

Now it's also my review as I finally finished the book during a stay in hospital with my little daughter. And yes, my wife was right (this once) - it's a better book than The Whitefire Crossing, and that was a great book itself.

Milda Page Runner
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Milda by: Alissa

Ruined district of Ninavel

Even better than the first one – intense and action packed epic fantasy adventure that grabs you from the first pages and doesn’t let go. Less mountains and travelling this time, but plenty of magic, mystery and investigation inside the city as the brutal murders of mages start threatening the survival of the whole Ninavel.
Recommended to everyone who likes fantasy.

Blood magic
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, arc-review
Courtney Schafer's debut, The Whitefire Crossing, book one in The Shattered Sigil was not only one of the biggest surprises for me last year, it was one of my favorite reads. The blend of Schafer's passion for climbing with the high use of magic and fast-paced plot had me reading my eyes out.

Because this is her second novel, I guess we have to ask (sorry it's in the contract), did she survive the sophomore slump? Yes, I answer, a resounding yes!! (with exclamation marks so you know it's true) Th
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This is an incredible follow-up novel. The return to Ninavel and the increased looks into the characters and their relationships and the magic system are fantastic. The tension is consistently high throughout the book, as the stakes just keep getting bigger and you keep getting more attached to the characters.

Great for folks who are looking for a non-European setting, non-white characters, some queer characters, character focused and driven storytelling, well-drawn magic systems, and a small ca
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it

Full Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Courtney Schafer’s debut was one that was highly appreciated over here at FBC as well as other places on the blogosphere. I loved it and consequently it was #5 in my list of the 2011 top ten debuts . Based on the blurb details, one can make out that this time the story faces a reverse pattern, previously both characters were racing towards the Alathian border but this time they are coming back to Ninavel and it doesn't look like they might
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
Mind-blowing! An investigation and so many twists and turns! A family of blood mages like vampires....a great cast of characters...I can't believe this is the author's second book. And what a middle-book-in-a-trilogy! Just a caveat: do yourself a favour, and keep the final book ready at hand (guess I said so about this very same book, too, after reading the first!!!). ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good second volume. Intense, with a lot of drama, despair and hope, action and magic, a lot of intrigues and nasty situations. Good writing, good characters, good ideea.

Overall, not such a big surprise, because I liked the first volume,but still, I didn`t expected to enjoy it as much as I did.

Excellent stuff!

May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Tainted City was a solid upgrade on the first instalment of the Shattered Sigil series. It had all the good elements of the first book and less of its slower moments. It was a big plus for me that this instalment had less running around in the mountains and more of a focus on mystery, magic, and intrigue in Ninavel.

After the way things ended in The Whitefire Crossing both Dev and Kiran find themselves prisoners of the Alathian Council. Dev is being kept as a hostage by the Alathians to be su
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
"It's complicated!" doesn't even begin to describe the plot twists and turns in this sequel to Whitefire Crossing. For a novel told from the point of view of only two characters (Devan and Kiran), it has more than its fair share of double-dealing, betrayal, misdirection and divided loyalties. I do not recommend skipping the first book, I actually struggled in the beginning to remember all the complications and the pacts that left Dev and Kiran prisoners in Alathia and to bring myself up to
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

Oh boy, finally a book that allows me to use up all the reviewer clichés in one go! You don’t know how long I have waited for this. Stop the printing; I am sure the next round of paperbacks is going to want a few of these blurbs for the back. I’ll even make it easy and place quotes around what a publisher may want to blurb, because that is the kind of helpful guy I am.

“Even better than the original!”

‘Whitefire Crossing’ was a fine, fine book on its own. A quick pace, tight cas
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Courtney Schafer’s debut novel The Whitefire Crossing was one of the pleasant surprises of 2011. A character driven fantasy tale in an original setting it ending with a satisfying conclusion that left our heroes alive but not necessarily in the best of circumstances. Fast forward to 2012′s release of The Tainted City and we return to see the climber Dev forced to work in the mines of Alathia to pay off his crimes for participating in Kiran’s blood magic. Kiran, his magic is bound by the Alathian ...more
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, fantasy, magez
Another enjoyable read.
Seregil of Rhiminee
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Before I write anything else, I'll mention that during the last couple of years Night Shade Books has published exciting books from several talented speculative fiction authors. Courtney Schafer is a perfect example of such an author, because her books are excellent fantasy entertainment for adults. (I have to mention that I have lots of respect for Night Shade Books, because they have courage to publish quality fantasy, which differs from mainstream fantasy.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Solid, fun book. I do so enjoy Courtney's characters.

This time round we have a race to save the city, working with the deadly enemies. It's actually rather interesting seeing the interactions between the two groups, and how Ruslan is always trying to screw the others over. Also, the climbing. The climbing! It's been a while since I read the first book, and there was a Huge focus on it towards the end. As a climber, really appreciated that section. Sweaty palms for daaaays. The ending has me pum
Aug 03, 2013 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
If you liked the first book in this series, this one would not disappoint. Schafer continues with taut suspense and a refreshing complexity with morality, tough issues of loyalty, and characters with driven goals that are not handled according to heroic stereotypes. She's upped the stakes in ways that are more threatening, but not deep, or more complex. If you are looking for a fast paced adventure fantasy with plenty of twists and betrayals, and solidly drawn characters, this is a good book to ...more
Blake Charlton
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
a fun sequel to one of favorite newly discovered authors last year. the world is vividly drawn and the two PoV characters, particularly, Dev are lots of fun. again, i was kinda baffled by the magical system, but not so much that i didn't greatly enjoy the book. i'm very much looking forward to where schafer takes the series next. ...more
Brandon Zarzyczny
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, it's definitely a great follow up to the Whitefire Crossing. However, I think that I probably liked this one a little less than the first book, mainly because I didn't love the new villain, and parts of the story feel a little like a rehash. Still, I'm really looking forward to the third entry of this series. For this story, other than the beginning plot device to get Kiran and Dev back into Ninavel, I loved the plot in this book. It's really nothing I've seen done in ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
That book. Was really really good.

Intriguing magic system, fully-fleshed characters, plot twists that I never saw coming, and never a dull moment. We once again see the story from Dev and Kiran's perspectives, but there is so much more than them. From the Alathians to Ruslan and co., everyone had a common goal but a different agenda.

It feels nice to read a book where the entire plot is not Good Guys vs Bad Guys, Good Guys do good things for the Greater Good, Bad Guys do bad things because that
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I went immediately to this book after finishing the first in the series, "The Whitefire Crossing", because I loved the first book and I had to know what happened next. I wasn't disappointed.

I thought the author did a great job of avoiding second book syndrome, when the plot seems to drag and it's mostly a set-up for the conclusion. At this point, I have no idea how many future books will be written in this series (I assume there's at least one more) and I'm ready to read them all.

The tone is to
Corry Lee
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-f
I was having a grumpy day... one of those where you struggle to pull yourself out of that random funk. After some listless wandering around, I picked up The Tainted City. Now, I loved The Whitefire Crossing, and you know how it's sometimes scary to read a second book in a series because you're afraid it won't be as awesome as the first? Fear not! The Tainted City was *even more awesome*! It totally de-grumpified me... and also kept me up waaaay too late several nights in a row.

There's a bit less
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
As great as the first book in this series is, this one is at least as good it not better. At the end of the first book, Kiran is a "captive" of their Althanian hosts and Dev has been sentenced to 10 years labor in the mines. All of a sudden, they find themselves back on the road to Ninival to help find out why there is an instability in the confluence.

Ms. Schafer has spun another wonderful tale of magic and adventure. My only complaint is she left me hanging!! Hurry up with the next book in the
The pacing here was a little disjointed. Individually, I enjoyed the various sections: Dev in the mines, the hunt for information in Ninavel, the return to the Whitefires. (The mountain climbing descriptions are as always a joy to read.) But they felt like individual pieces of scenery; I never quite got a sense of the world as one connected place. Still, the ending raises a lot of questions about the world; maybe in answering them, the third book will bring things together more holistically.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Schafer is a good writer, as much as her world building isn't as exciting as many of the fantasy authors out there, this is an impressive book. There isn't a drawn out explanation of the world, but overall I'm impressed. This is a solid book with great characters. The reality is that most writers in this genre suffer from a little too much writing excitement and tend to dump words onto a page. ...more
Marianne Boutet
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
Well things are "interesting" for Dev and Kiran in this book. I wish I could give it 5 stars as have many other reviewers. I had trouble this time with the near-constant info-dump. Dev anticipates an action and then various mental conversations and/or backflashes happen and then 3 pages later the action finally occurs (and this reader sometimes had lost the context of the action and had to backtrack to find out whatthehell was happening). With all the political and psychological machinations (as ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
You can read the full review over at The Founding Fields:

Shadowhawk reviews the second novel in the Shattered Sigil adventure fantasy trilogy.

“A brilliant sequel to what was a brilliant debut.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields

When I read The Whitefire Crossing last year, the first book in the Shattered Sigil trilogy, I had thought that adventure fantasy was a somewhat new thing. But its not, exactly. A lot of novels that can be called heroic fantasy fall w
T. Frohock
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
A disclaimer before I begin this review: Courtney and I are both former NSB authors, whose debut novels were published within months of one another. Since then, she and I have emailed one another frequently and I consider her to be a friend. That doesn't mean that I will pull punches in my review. It's just there for your information.

For those of you who have not been keeping up with Courtney's Shattered Sigil series (gives a stare worthy of Chuck Wendig), you should be. The first book of the se
Becca C
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I'm so, so glad I didn't let my tiny amount of dissatisfaction with the first book stop me from picking up this one. This second book is amazing. The pacing literally flies along, the action is non-stop, and the tension is ratcheted up by like a million degrees. The characters all get put through the wringer: trying to track down a killer that's gonna bring on doomsday, knives getting stabbed into backs hither and yon, emotions roller-coastering at a mile a minute-- and I absolutely ate
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Whitefire Crossing, but had a harder time with this one. Maybe it was just me and life being a little complicated recently, but I actually had to force myself to keep picking it back up so I could finish it. It seemed like there was less character development: we already know the characters and I didn't see any growth, other than Kiran, who seemed to be going backwards. Also, there was less climbing and fewer beautiful descriptions o ...more
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A voracious reader, Courtney Schafer took up writing when she found that fantasy books weren't published fast enough to satisfy her craving for new worlds full of magic and wonder. When not writing, Courtney figure skates, climbs mountains, squeezes through desert slot canyons, and skis way too fast through trees. To support her adrenaline-fueled hobbies and writing habit, she received a degree in ...more

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Shattered Sigil (3 books)
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