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Seven Blades in Black

(The Grave of Empires #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Acclaimed author Sam Sykes returns with a brilliant new epic fantasy that introduces an unforgettable outcast mage caught between two warring empires.

Her magic was stolen. She was left for dead.

Betrayed by those she trusts most and her magic ripped from her, all Sal the Cacophony has left is her name, her story, and the weapon she used to carve both. But she has a will st
Paperback, 661 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Orbit (first published February 26th 2019)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  168 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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شيماء ✨
I feel like everyone my age is getting into relationships and growing up and I’m just here getting lazier and finding more books to add to my TBR

Robin Hobb
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, the usual caveat! I know Sam Sykes and I read this book as an Advance Reading Copy, an edition sent to me for free by the publisher. As always, this does not affect my review of the book.

Seven Blades in Black weighs in at a substantial 771 pages; the edition I have is a chunk! For fantasy readers who enjoy a complete immersion in a new world with a unique magic system, this book is for you. In a time when most new fantasies seem to be part of a trilogy or longer series, Seven Blades in Black

ARC provided by Orbit in exchange for an honest review.

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Buddy read with Jules at JA Ironside! ❤
Nicholas Eames
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my kind of book. Fast-paced and funny, tempered with tender moments and some really excellent worldbuilding. The characters--from Sal the Cacophony to the entire supporting cast (especially the bad guys)--are colorful and complex. And if, like me and every other rational human being on the planet, you're a fan of Final Fantasy and anime, you'll find a lot to love in this series.

Also, there's a sword named Jeff. Need I go on? No. No, I needn't.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010s, fantasy, reviewed
This is something you don’t see very often; a fantasy obviously inspired by westerns. It’s filled with outlaws, lone gunmen and our hero wandering the desert-like setting with a trusted steed (though in this case, the steed is a giant mean spirited bird, inspired by Final Fantasy’s Chocobos).

The plot focuses on Sal the Cacophony, who is awaiting her execution. She decides to give a last confession though, telling of the recent events that lead to her leaving several towns burning and countless l
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exciting and inventive. I never realized how much I needed wizard-hunting gunslingers in my life.

Buy Sam’s book.
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Who's got greedy fingers when it comes to NetGalley and wants to read all of the epic fantasies?
This girl!

Thank you NetGalley and Orbit for an arc.


The Captain
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

While I enjoyed this book, it didn't completely float me boat.  I think that this stems from me misconception that this was a standalone novel.  After finishing this, I really do wish it was and I even know what the ending could have been.  But I can hardly fault the author for writing a series can I?

I absolutely did love the main character, Sal the Cacophony. 
Holly (The Grimdragon)
"And I felt like I was choking on my own blood again. I felt like I was drowning on dry land. I felt like I wanted to tear my throat out so I could breathe again. I felt like I wanted to take out my gun and start shooting until things made sense.."

Well, fuck. If this isn't my jam, I don't know what is!

Sal the Cacophony (rad name, yeah?) felt as though she was a part of my soul. I related to her in many ways.. for awhile there, I was feeling personally attacked! Goddamn. Sarcastic, sweary, tattoo
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley.

Whatever else they say, they'll say Sal the Cacophony did the right thing. Now and again, at least.

Those of you who have been following my reviews for awhile will realize what an absolute anomaly it is for me to read a high fantasy book that comes in at around 700 pages at all, much less to give it five stars. Usually I find myself nodding off when a book hits 400 pages, but even though it definitely took me awhile to read this I never once foun
DNF @ 49%

Sadly, this book was not my cup of tea. I was so thrilled to win an ARC of the book from the publisher via Goodreads and I loved the start of the book, but I’m halfway in and I’ve lost all motivation to continue. I find myself disconnected from the characters and bored by the plot and repetitiveness, so this one is a DNF for me. 😕
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Publishing Date: April 2019

Publisher: Orbit

ISBN: 9780316363433

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Betrayed by those she trusts most and her magic ripped from her, all Sal the Cacophony has left is her name, her story, and the weapon she used to carve both. But she has a will stronger than magic, and knows exactly where to go.
The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun, and a list
Lauren Chamberlin
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
TW: Abuse (mostly mental), intense violence/ gore, violence against children/ innocents, and PTSD.
Sal the Cacophony is most certainly a different protagonist. She’s selfish, stubborn, and a murderer, but she also does a great deal for the world even when sometimes she doesn’t do it for them. Her middle name is vengeance, and SBIB is the best revenge story I’ve ever read. I adored her moral ambiguity, and I’ll continue to love it in the sequel.
Sam Sykes has wonderful pace in his writing. I sl
Jun 12, 2018 marked it as this-is-crazy-but-2019-it-is  ·  review of another edition
This is such a strange cover?
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This is all I'm going to leave behind." She reached up, traced the scar over her eye with two fingers. "Even before this, before the gun, before the list, I didn't have much to my name but corpses, It's only gotten worse since then. This story, what I did, is all I have left to give."
She let her hands drop. She closed her eyes.
"Everything else is just dust and scars."

*A huge thank you to Orbit books for sending this book my way! As always, that does not effect my review.*

A sentient gun, murder
Raquel Flockhart
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy, uno19
I'm really glad I received this book from netgalley - I can tell how much I enjoyed it because although it was long, I was sad when it ended. This is the story of Sal the Cacophony. We learn about her life bit by bit; and in fact, I'm pretty glad I didn't read the book description before I read the book. There is a lot of action, a good bit of humor, and some very grim events. Sal especially has some great lines, and I wish I'd highlighted more of them. The bad guys are interesting, as is the ma ...more
J.A. Ironside
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

4.5 Stars

You've heard his laugh before. Everyone has. It's the giggle of the cruel child who kicks a dog and lies to his parents' faces. It's the chuckle of a man who knows a woman isn't allowed to say no to him without losing teeth.


Ok this was kind of an add in for FantasyAThon for me but I am totally counting it because this is a fantasy book and a half. Part dark fantasy, part weird western, and all frenetic action with
♠️ Tabi ♠️
I long for the day to have a name as epic as Sal the Cacophany like forget goals of fame and fortune . . . this is what I want as my legacy
lady victoriana
Feb 25, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-fantasy
i'm sorry but.......this cover can't be real. please. this looks like someone cut out a face and hands out of a 70s vogue magazine and glued it onto a silhouette. how (why!!!!) is a publishing house putting out a cover my nine-year-old cousin could have pasted together in ms paint.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Beautiful, but horrific. Detailed, but leaves you guessing to the end. This book & the main character are a collection of contradictions that somehow fit together, sometimes seemlessly, but usually in noticable ways, like Sal's scars. Sal is the definition of the complex character that you both love & want to fix.

The language is beautiful, & coarse. There were sections that made me want to use a highlighter on my book (I settled for ripping pieces off my bookmar
John Mendez
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Western Fantasy, Grimdark(mild), Action Fantasy, Quest Fantasy

Similar books: The Gunslinger(setting), Dresden Files(narrative voice), Final Fantasy (setting), Kill Bill (Plot), Gods of Blood and Powder (Ben Styke plotline)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Here's the TL;DR for my review:

1. You'll want to read this if you like reading fun, rompy books
2. If you want to read a revenge novel in the style of 'Kill Bill'
3. If you want to read a magic system desi
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, fantasy
Beautiful, vulgar, and brilliant, that is how I would describe this book.

Sal the Cacophony travels through a magic ravaged landscape bent on revenge.

I fell in love with the prose, elegant and sharp as a sword’s edge. This line really struck me. “The loudest sound in the world is a man of faith beginning to doubt.”

I never thought I would find a weapon that bested Elric’s Stormbringer, but I think I have.

I can’t wait for the next book.
Paul Krueger
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Caveat: Sam and I are colleagues who know each other personally. Take this review as you will in that light, but also know that if I didn't love this book, I wouldn't have felt moved to write this review.

I've now read everything Sykes has ever published, and I can confidently say that SEVEN BLADES IN BLACK is his finest work. The book's central figure, the surly and self-destructive Sal the Cacophony, is an engaging subversion of the Strong Female Character, and the world she rampages through is
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review originally posted at Thoughts Stained With Ink:

**Incredible thanks to Orbit for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review**

Fuck me.

Okay, let me give you a little history, before I go in and attempt to review this book. I have been meaning to read Sykes for…forever, it feels like. I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon him, but I started following him on Twitter because I couldn’t get enough of how hilarious his content in (seriously, I want my own author marketing to be as
Rituranjan Gogoi
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining action fantasy with real heart. I had a fun time reading it, and finished it within a day. The setting and the tone of the novel reminded me of Ed McDonald's Blackwing. It portrays a world ravaged by war and conflict, where magic and machines collide together. It is bleak, bloody, and brutal. Here Sam Sykes departs from the vicious and gory mood of his previous 'Bring Down Heaven Trilogy' The City Stained Red, and the scope is more epic in regards to the worldbuilding. Categorica ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seven Blades in Black is an intricate and enjoyable character-study that at times suffers from keeping the reader in the dark for a little too long.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

For my full review:

For all my reviews:
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is super fun, kind of a fantasy dipped in an anime and tripping on mushrooms. fast paced, full of violence and attitude and an amazing world.

Sam tells a wild story, you will dig it, I promise
Al Burke
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Check out my review here -
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So damn good. This book walks that razor line between grimdark and old school swords and sorcery.
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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
“The song of lightning followed me, an angry, screeching verse torn from twenty ragged throats.” 0 likes
“Just because something is religious does not necessarily make it insane.” She studied the writing and hummed. “Though this particular something is decidedly fucking nuts.” 0 likes
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