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The Mortal Tally (Bring Down Heaven, #2)
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The Mortal Tally

(Bring Down Heaven #2)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  654 ratings  ·  68 reviews
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. Cultists and thieves wage shadow wars, tribal armies foment outside the city's walls, and haughty ari
Kindle Edition, 270 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Orbit
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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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  ·  review of another edition
Another action packed adventure by Sam Sykes. I really dug it. Full review to come.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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: Eve
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short review: Five screw-ups blunder towards saving the world, with varying degrees of disastrousness.
This is a relentlessly grim-dark book, even more than the first one. Frankly speaking, reading the story of this book made me hopeless. It was bloody, brutal, unforgiving, and a selfish world that Sykes portrays with his signature dark humour and irony. This is also a book about characters, more than events, their inner conflicts that leads to choices of destruction in the world finds acute focus in Sykes narrative. It takes time for the reader to wrap their heads around the story, and the chara ...more
James Cox
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great characters and awesome world building. I'm excited for the next book! ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sam Sykes shows great promise in book two, by keeping me engaged with the characters, the action continues non stop, just the way I like it! Looking forward to book three, finding out how all of this concludes. Strong writing, good work, Thanks!
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like your fantasy to have well-rounded characters, villains that aren't easily described as evil, and worlds that feel real and lived in then you need to be reading the Bring Down Heaven series.
There are so many moments in the second book of this series that made it worth my time and money but one moment stood out to me. It isn't a spoiler so I think I can detail it here.
One of the characters has found respite in the company of a prostitute. He thinks he loves her and when he believes t
Trent Rozz
Jan 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
This tome of betrayal and love is magically dark and will satisfy the most avid fantasy reader!
This is such a hard book to rate because there are so many main characters and POVs and I feel so differently about all of them

Lenk - 5 stars, everything about his chapters are amazing. Sad murder boy being gaslit by the apparation of a god that no one else can see who keeps telling him that they could make a better world if Lenk would only join him. Incredibly sexy, a bonafide MOOD, genuinely the only thing I'm actually here for, would make a good novella all on its own because at this point I
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shaun Dyer
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Mortal Tally is the second book in the Bring Down Heaven Trilogy and follows right on the heels of the first book The City Stained Red. It has everything you've come to expect from a Sam Sykes book thrilling action, dark humour and a deep and innovative world.

The characters from the first come back but with added depth as they lurch from one bad decision to another as they try to save the city of Cier'Djaal, and their own skins, in a world gone mad. The characters were well rounded before,
Daniel Yim
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a delight.

I have heard Mr. Sykes speak about writing on many occasions and always his top priority for any story is emotion. Whether or not you agree with him is irrelevant, but I mention this because it translates so well into his story.

Each chapter is an emotional journey for the character whose point of view it's from. Their choices are steep in emotion and the consequences of their ideals. This book has been an exceptional read that I highly recommend.

The only thing negative I would
Ruth Harwood
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this awesome middle book in the trilogy - and it's rare I enjoy the second more than the first, but in this case, I did! Part of that is that it's set in many more places, following the characters on thier individual journeys, rather than together, but also because there was a lot of action, unexpected but very very welcome! Normally, the middle book is the centre of the storm, and there's little action but for that setting us up for the finale. This was more the filling of the ...more
Charles Haworth
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Emily Woodbeck
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mark of good writing for me is creating characters that I become so attached to that their suffering crushes my heart. There was so much heart stomping in various forms in Mortal Tally, in the aftermath of the quirky DnD-esque escapades of the first book. The misfit crew of adventurers draws you in to their struggles, and this part of the story really puts them through some rough sh*t. I found Kataria’s story particularly effective in this book. I spent most of it irrationally angry at her, so ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: addictive
Initially, I was a bit reluctant to tag along to the adventures of Sykes's protagonists. There was something about them that made me uneasy whenever they made a poor decision or reacted poorly, or even said the wrong thing. Then I realized that it's because of how relatable he's made these characters, they're not only a series of actions that add up to a protagonist, but also driven by emotions, by desires. And now I'm glad to have started 2019 with the 3rd part of this series. Looking forward t ...more
Paige Belfield
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Evan Mapstone
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
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Sam Sykes is the author of Tome Of The Undergates, a vast and sprawling story of adventure, demons, madness and carnage. Suspected by many to be at least tangentially related to most causes of human suffering, Sam Sykes is also a force to be reckoned with beyond literature.

At 25, Sykes is one of the younger authors to have arrived on the stage of literary fantasy. Tome Of The Undergates is his fir

Other books in the series

Bring Down Heaven (3 books)
  • The City Stained Red (Bring Down Heaven, #1)
  • God's Last Breath (Bring Down Heaven, #3)

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