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The Mortal Tally

(Bring Down Heaven #2)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  336 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Acclaimed author Sam Sykes returns with the second thrilling novel in his Bring Down Heaven series.

The heart of civilization bleeds.
Cier'Djaal, once the crowning glory of the civilized world, has gone from a city to a battlefield and a battlefield to a graveyard. Foreign armies clash relentlessly on streets laden with the bodies of innocents caught in the crossfire. Cult
Paperback, 688 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Orbit
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Rating details
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Mark Medina
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Good mid-trilogy book.

Good second book in the second trilogy from Sykes. Lots of faced paced action, but also interesting questions posed by the storylines of each character. This builds on the previous books, but also has good sub-plots in it's own right. Looking forward to the next book.
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another action packed adventure by Sam Sykes. I really dug it. Full review to come.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book. I actually needed time to just sit and decompress after this one. You know that feeling at the end of Empire Strikes Back when you are thinking 'HIS HAND!!' and 'HIS FATHER?!' -- it's like that only multiplied by all the main characters.

I was a little worried at the beginning of The Mortal Tally because it took me a while to get reorientated in this world. (This included re-reading and skimming through parts of the previous novel). But once I had all my characters in order it was smoo
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Man, oh man, Sam Sykes can write. The first installment in this series read like a D&D adventure without the cheese factor. Great characters that break the mold over and over again, starting with Lenk and circling back around to end with Lenk. This installment further expands on our cast of characters, adding depth and backstory, and finally wrapping up with cliffhanger endings that will make you grit your teeth until the next book arrives.

The one thing I do want to point out with this book:
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a bit torn here, first of all I love Sam Sykes, his fantasy world is the kind I love..deep, interesting and full of action. The characters are well fleshed out and the dialogue is smart and funny. Oh, yes my friends the witty remarks run deep in these waters.

However, I do have a few issues, and I mean a few. The book suffers from the second book syndrome, the pacing gets a bit draggy and slow but its all good because things get set up for the next book. Some of the characters are a bit hard
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Three stars but I'm adding one for the world-building. The only thing holding me back from swooning is that I hate the character of Lenk. Too whiny with very little growth or personal agenda. Still madly in love with all of the female characters.
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The short review: Five screw-ups blunder towards saving the world, with varying degrees of disastrousness.
James Cox
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great characters and awesome world building. I'm excited for the next book!
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to writing characters there are three authors who I've always thought stood out. George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, and Joe Abercrombie. In some order. The people in their stories will stay with me forever, truly.

Sam Sykes is quickly approaching that group. This series is like the Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale games but on "great writing steroids". I love those games to death, but I love to read more. The best part of ID was creating your own group and giving them their own backstories
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I absolutely loved this book. I really really liked City Stained Red and this book was even better. Fun, funny, full of adventure, action packed, and full of heart. The main characters are all great. Highly recommended.
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This tome of betrayal and love is magically dark and will satisfy the most avid fantasy reader!
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very few book series can claim to be as enthralling or as good as their first installment, but Sam Sykes proves his aptitude for storytelling once again in The Mortal Tally - the second book in the Bring Down Heaven trilogy.
After the shock of a city fallen to chaos, armies warring in the streets and religious fanatics of God-King Khoth-Kapira erupting into demons, one would think Sykes couldn't up the ante. A thought swiftly proven wrong. Handling the realities of war and those who get dragged i
Trent Rozz
Jan 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out who this book is supposed to be for. The descriptions of violence and the over-use of profanity seem to suggest it's meant for adult readers, but the writing itself and the characters within feel like they're targeted for middle-school readers. The language is extremely basic, and full of repeated words, sentence after sentence. I believe every author should read their own writing aloud just once, so they can hear how awkward it is when someone "puts the ...more
Charles Haworth
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed and thought this an improvement on the first book (which was already good)

A bit less of an adventuring party and will less surprises (as we already know the characters) this basically shows what happens when already corrupt/fanatical people in a corrupt city endure civil war and the effective collapse of society.

it also shows us the personal changes of each of the main protagonists, most developing very believably and focusing on their insecurities, their loves, fears and how they cann
Trevin Sandlin
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Broken people. Broken people make life interesting. Broken people make bad decisions based on the same evidence that "unbroken" (boring) people make. Broken people then compound their bad decisions with mistakes and bad actions. Every step of this story, you want to scream at the main characters - and I mean that as a compliment. Because while you can see that the decisions they're making are the wrong completely makes sense to them and to you. This is how people behave.

That's the
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
So many terrible choices. I kinda like that in Sykes' characters, it's very human to do something stupid and tell yourself it's going to be alright because you mean well or you had no other choice or anyone else would have done this (but of course my favorite character is Asper).

Edit: Wait, wait, I have an actual comment to make! It's not about the story, though. It's that the author doesn't seems to grasp what exactly is a fresco. It breaks my art school heart to see him describe a mosaic to th
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent second book in the series. Continuing where the prior book, The City Stained Red, left off and takes it to a whole new level. We have the same familiar set of characters and these are thrust into ever more challenging circumstances as they struggle to contain (or exploit) the violence surrounding Cier'Djaal. With a strong set of characters, an engaging plot, and an intriguing setting, this book was a pleasure to read. As before, the book has a dark, gritty, violent tone wit ...more
Paige Belfield
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This series is just fun, honestly. There's just a constant underlying tone of enthusiasm that shows that Sykes just damn well enjoyed writing it.
And I damn well am enjoying reading it. I like how neatly the character arcs overlap despite each acting separately to each other. I like the anger and the purpose that drives each of them.
Lost that 5th star for the pacing. It just seemed a bit off this time around. Certainly keen to pick up book 3 soon.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The mortal tally is the middle of the bring down heaven trilogy, but managed to stand on its own as a story that does not need the preceding or succeeding novels to make sense. Sam Sykes expertly blends action and character development, building the relationships between characters and fleshing out the world they live in.
Jack Waibel
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoyed City Stained Read (which you pretty much have to read to understand this book) then there's a pretty good chance you will like The Mortal Tally. It has that excellent mix of humor, action, and character development that you can expect from Sam Sykes, and (in my opinion) presents it all with even better pacing than City Stained Red.
Rand Fitzpatrick
Sympathy for the devil. And the devil is in the details.

This is a great read, full of characters with fully realized and nuanced motivations. If you enjoy adventure without clear good and evil, this is for you.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't go wrong with fighting demons

Until you aren't fighting demons and fighting each other. Plenty of conflict, plenty of magic and sword fights. I just like a little more comradely.
Kerry Bernard
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Six assholes independently break a dying city while trying to fix it.

Great book, I started the next one immediately.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Our poor heroes are half dead, mostly dead, soon to be dead, and regrettably releasing demons. I can’t wait to see how the band will get back together in the final book!
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read

I cannot wait to read what happens next. The worlds & characters in this book (& previous books) have left me eagerly anticipating their next adventures!
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great book if you like characters acting like normal people just wittier
Searska GreyRaven
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really took my time reading this one, which is rare. Usually I devour good books, but this one deserved to be savored. The worldbuilding, the characters, everything was top-notch.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A rip snorter of a follow up. The party has split up and are buggering things up far more efficiently in a far greater area than before.

Starting to think that Daemon may not be on the up and up.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I've started and erased this review several times now, because I'm not entirely sure how to approach The Mortal Tally. The beginning is largely excruciating, and while threads of that extend much further into the book, there's enough going on that I liked, that I almost want to have it offset the bad parts. Particularly the ending, which I felt was great, acting as both a major turning point as well as the culmination of a major personal conflict for one of the characters. But I'm getting ahead ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's get one thing straight first: this is a second book out of three (?). Do not be like me and go in expecting a duology, with an epic finish to the story of Cier'Djaal, Asper, and Denaos (and, uh, those other guys too). You will reach the end and the sequel hook and be like, "This is it?" and then not even read the third book preview until later because you will be sad and unfulfilled.

Manage your expectations ahead of time. Expect a second book.

It's also a very second book second book. The p
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