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The Stone Knife

(Songs of the Drowned #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  51 reviews
A fantasy epic of freedom and empire, gods and monsters, love, loyalty, honour, and betrayal, from the acclaimed author of GODBLIND.

For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.

Kindle Edition, 608 pages
Published November 26th 2020 by HarperVoyager
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Anna Stephens Hi, it's set in a queer-norm society with a married m/m couple as two of the protagonists plus a complete openness around orientation. Other character…moreHi, it's set in a queer-norm society with a married m/m couple as two of the protagonists plus a complete openness around orientation. Other characters have casual partners of all genders or might be committed to just one. (less)

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ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.

This was amazing. Great characters, lethal actions, and so much bloodbath; a vampire reading this book would probably find their thirst satiated.

This is one of the biggest surprises of the year for me; I am thoroughly impressed by what Stephens has crafted here. Her debut, Godblind, was a good grimdark novel that I liked, but The Stone Knif
Bethan Hindmarch
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anna Stephens is back with a brand new trilogy for us, and I have been so excited for it for ages. I loved her Godblind trilogy, so I pre-ordered The Stone Knife back in April ready for the November release – but when Stephens offered me an ARC for review, I jumped at the chance!

The Stone Knife, book one of The Songs of the Drowned, takes place in a whole new world that is inspired by ancient Central American civilisations. It is the story of the Tokob tribe as they try to survive in the face o
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
Anna Stephens brings a whole new world to life with bloody glory in The Stone Knife. The Empire of Songs has slowly been advancing its reach over Ixachipan through bloody conquest. It will not stop under every single person is under the Song. They worship the holy Setat, sacrificing untold numbers to keep their gods appeased. But for the Tokob and Yaloh these creatures are not holy, they are the Drowned and to hear their song is to meet death. Terrifying monsters that infest rivers, killing with ...more
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
They said that the Drowned were the souls of the dead, angry that the living still walked beneath the sun, still breathed the air and ate the good food of the land.

On my blog.

Actual rating 2.5

Rep: gay mcs, deaf mc, bi mc

CWs: gore, torture, violence, human sacrifice, animal death, child death, cannibalism

Galley provided by publisher

Usually, I think I’m pretty good at picking books I know I’ll like. Or rather, I don’t pick books I know I’ll actively dislike. So, I thought, with The Stone K
Maja Ingrid
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Oh Anna, you certainly know how to please my heart with brutal gore and death. This book was such a strong start to her new series. Stephens has grown so much as a writer since the first book in the Godblind series (which was a weak start but grew to be one of my fave series). And if the start is this good I can't wait to see what the next book in this series will bring me.

5 stars because I haven't had a 5 star book since December. I had some fears in the middle of the book it would only be 3 s
S A M | The Book in Hand
Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Today I am really happy to be sharing with you my review of Anna Stephens ‘The Stone knife‘ and on its day of publication no less!

YAYY!! Happy Publication Day!

Firstly, I would like to thank HarperVoyager for approving my NetGalley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Here are a few things you can expect from :

Gods and mysterious monsters;
Love, loyally and family;
Bloody battles;
Political intrigue;
Darker scenes and swift melodic brutality; and
Kitvaria Sarene
Once again Stephens manages to write an utterly brilliant and we'll rounded book.

As with her first trilogy, this is definitely on the grim and bloody side of things. And again the divers cast that felt so very real to me was my main draw.

The Stone Knife is inspired by Aztec culture and has a wide and mysterious world to be explored. I loved to see more and more of the setting, and especially how the two different nations were done.
I for one definitely had one side I rooted for, but what I enjo
Rowena Andrews
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
ANNA STEPHENS IS BACK! This is the first in a brand-new trilogy, in a brand-new world, and I loved every single moment of this book from the very first word until the last.
The Stone Knife, as might be expected to anyone familiar with Stephens’ first trilogy, is brutal, although not so much in the ‘grimdark’ way that Godblind was often characterised as being. But, still brutal and bloody, and written with such vividness that you can’t help but have a visceral reaction to what is happening on th
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
Absolutely fantastic! Anna Stephens is back and better than ever! What a fantastic book this is, a new world and a brilliant new story have emerged. This was one of my major anticipated reads of this year and it has delivered on every level!
Rebecca | Velvet Opus
Nov 02, 2020 marked it as upcoming-arcs
I love a good fantasy and this 600+ page fantasy is described as "a fantasy epic of freedom and empire, gods and monsters, love, loyalty, honour, and betrayal", plus it has LGBT representation. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy! ...more
Apr 19, 2020 marked it as to-read
“Un-Follow Me Now, This Is Gonna Be the Only Thing I Tweet About For The Next Week. Ive Wanted This For Years Fuck. What The Fuck.”

—Tyler the Creator
K.S. Marsden
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Empire of Songs has been assimilating the surrounding clans for generations. Now the last two clans must fight for their freedom.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The story is split between several of the characters.
The last free clans are in danger. The Pechacan (the Empire) has stolen their homelands, and forced them to the edge of civilisation.
On one side, the Empire's army nips at their heels, building roads and pyramids that relay their song, buildin
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Stone Knife has a lot of heart, and is as brutally bloody as the fantasy scene has come to expect from Anna Stephens’s works. The Stone Knife, however, also raises her personal bar to new heights as she explores colonialism with her own blood-soaked take. Never has music sounded more terrifying in The Stone Knife, where colonisation is as unapologetically bloody as it is devious. It is indisputably one of the most impressively insidious entries in the fantasy genre I’ve read in 2020. A viole ...more
Alicia Wanstall-Burke
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Exceptional world building, striking out beyond the cliched borders of traditional fantasy, where dark eddies of intrigue and Stephen’s unique brand of brutal storytelling set a strong foundation for another epic series.
Sifa Poulton
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

My main issue with this book was the sheer length. It was just so long and felt like it really lacked focus. I kept wondering what I was supposed to be rooting to happen, and waiting for something to happen that would grab me. Instead, the book just dragged on. I feel like the book could have been 200 pages shorter and thus more engaging. Once it fell to the inevitable battl
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My express and gratiude to Jamie at Harpervoyager for allowing me to access an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. My thoughts only.

The entire continent of Ixachipan became an ever torment mass of fire, fighting and blood. I watched, as an observor, witnessing the events of a fight that would soon engulf everyone. Wars fought for the purpose of religion. Conflicts started because empires must expand. The cost of innocent lives. War is brutal. And a religion that demands sacrifice
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Stone Knife is a visceral and epic tale of Empire, that is set in an original world that tells a tale of heroism, love, betrayal and resistance.

The story takes place in the forest land of Ixachipan and revolves around the people of Tokoban and the Yolotlan and their struggle to remain free from being enslaved by the Pechacan, The Empire of song.

For Generations, the Pechecan have slowly been absorbing every free tribe, enslaving the people that they conquer and expanding the influence of the
Peter Baran
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an impressive bit of world building, and once I got into it, quite a compulsive start to a big canvas tale of empires, colonialism and tyranny. The setting feels broadly based on Mexican / South American cultural furnishings, we have pyramids, we have consolidation of empires over tribes and water gods who can entrap with a song. The story bounces between a number of characters (possibly too many) between the encroaching Empire and one of the few tribes left free. The aim of the Empire i ...more
Eloise Smith
Nov 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, arcs, not-for-me, dnf
I'm sorry, I had to DNF this one. I've struggled to read it for the past couple of days and today at 41% I had to give up. The book is told in chapters of different characters. I can't think of the number off the top of my head, however I think so far I've read about 5. This book is complicated and needs a lot of concentration. I couldn't tell you the number of characters there are, there are so many. I expect it may just be me, I haven't read a book this detailed before and I struggled with the ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and HarperVoyager for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 stars.
I read Godblind when it came out and really liked it so I jumped at the chance to read this, and I have to say that I think I enjoyed this even more!
I loved the world building, seeing the two warring civilisations that seem to be almost two sides to the same coin but also quite different. I also loved having POV characters from both sides of the conflict, as it gave loads of really interesting grey areas
Katrina Evans
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing and anyone that says otherwise can go jump in the river ;)

I loved the setting, the Aztec / Central America vibe is so different from the norm - it's fun, vibrant and fresh.

The plot is complex and there are a lot of layers to it, take it a little bit slower and engage your braincells and the nuance really shines through.

The characters are really where this book sings though - they are first and foremost real people and everyone of them has reasons for doing what they do. By
Graham Dauncey
I am always on the look out for innovative and different takes on fantasy, and The Stone Knife definitely fits that bill. Here we are transported to a fantasy version of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, a fascinating and rarely explored conceit within the fantasy genre. In this world, a vast empire (The Empire of Song) is poised to complete its conquest of all known lands by conquering the last two allied independent states. The empire is ruled over by The Singer who spreads his influence by way of a ...more
Maria Gulliford
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
All of the stars. I loved this book and have taken too many jntk my heart (will I never learn?) so am now anxious for the next installation. A feature that returns from the previous trilogy is perspectives from both sides of the war, which is both brilliant and difficult as I have two favourites with diametrically opposed aims.
Priya Saini
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So thankful for the advance copy from Harper Voyager.

This book needs to reach more and more people. It's everything a fantasy fiction with a sapphic relationship must have.
Peter McLean
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A blood-drenched, Aztec-inspired mesoamerican fantasy epic begins. This thing is just glorious. Under the song!
Mark Redman
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as a nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.

The Empire is not their only enemy. Monstrous, scaled predators lurk in rivers and streams, with deadly music of their own.

As battle looms, fighters on both sides must decide how far they will go for their beliefs and for the ones they love – a veteran gener
Dale Thompson
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Stone KnifeThe Stone Knife

Anna Stephens

My First review and first book of 2021, and what a book it was. Anna Stephens was an author I found with no prior knowledge, a rare look at paperbacks when Waterstones don’t have any new hardbacks and I was so impressed, the next two books were eagerly devoured and when I heard of Anna's new series this was an instant buy. I’m just sad it had to wait on the shelf so long before I could read it.

The Stone Knife, book one of The Songs of the Drowned, is
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anna Stephens' first novel in the Songs of the Drowned is not short on action, bloodshed, romance, and mystery. While I am sure this has happened to me before, I cannot recall a book in which I felt totally disconnected and struggled to get through at the start like I did this book, but ultimately became rapt and completely wrapped up into the narrative as the story unfolds.

It took me a while to figure out why I did not enjoy this book through the first 100-150 pages. The best I can describe it
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher via Netgalley and can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I had little expectations going into this book. Having never read anything by Anna Stephens before I wasn’t prepared for the sheer brutality, the wonderfully diverse well built characters and a world that is almost written into being. I don’t think it will come across as too much of a surprise to say I loved it. Told from multiple perspectives both from The Tokob and Th
The Chronicler
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Stone Knife was a compelling read in a richly imagined world with an eclectic cast of characters who, in the main, were multi-layered and very gripping. Anna Stephens introduces us to a world at war, a proud people fighting against a seemingly undefeatable invader. It is shocking and dramatic from minute one and the pace and horror of war never really lets up.

Of course we must talk about the Drowned - I don't think I've ever read such a brilliantly imagined monster race, or one so terrifying
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Anna Stephens is the UK-based author of gritty epic fantasy. The Godblind trilogy - Goblind, Darksoul, Bloodchild - is now published in the UK and Commonwealth by HarperVoyager. It is being released separately and in translation (where applicable) in North America, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Czechoslovakia. You can sign up to her newsletter here: ...more

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