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The Stone Knife

(Songs of the Drowned #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  20 reviews
An astonishing new fantasy trilogy of gods and monsters by the acclaimed author of GODBLIND.

In the humid jungles of Ixachipan, a war has been raging for fifty years as the Pechaqueh, by order of their supreme ruler the Singer, conquer their neighbouring tribes and bring them into the glory of the Empire of Songs. Only the Yaloh and their neighbours, the Tokob of the hills,
Hardcover, 608 pages
Expected publication: 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.

4.5/5 stars

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
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
Bethan Hindmarch
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
Rowena Andrews
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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!
Apr 19, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
“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
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Peter Baran
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sifa Poulton
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
Eloise Smith
Nov 15, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, dnf, fantasy, not-for-me
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Priya Saini
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Copy received from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

After loving the Godblind trilogy, I was very excited to see what Anna Stephens came out with next and I was not disappointed. I very much enjoyed the story and the characters.

The Stone Knife is set in a fantasy world inspired by pre-conquest Central America which, I have to admit, I have never read any fantasy novels based on that particular area so this felt very fresh and something new to me. The novel follows multiple characters and, like
Mark Redman
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
"The Stone Knife" is a ride and a half. The character list is probably the most diverse of any book I've read so far this year and they are all crafted magnificently. The story is hard-edged, gory and gruesome, and also very, very human at its core. The imagination that has gone into the world-building here is astonishing, and I'm very much looking forward to the next book in the series.

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own
Rachael Mills
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brutally bloody fantasy from the Queen of Grimdark. The worldbuilding is richly detailed and the characters are complex and engaging. I can't wait for book 2!
Sachin Dev
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite fantasy book of this terrible terrible year 2020. OMFG, What a brilliant start to this Songs of the Drowned series.
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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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