Nora's Reviews > Knife Sworn

Knife Sworn by Mazarkis Williams
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's review
Oct 16, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: high-fantasy, 2012-pub

This book was less wonderful than the first of the series. I mean, still well-written, and the central conflict was good, but overall I felt much less invested for several reasons:

1) The pacing was flat-out wonky. I couldn't tell the order of events between perspectives -- one character will be doing something, then it'll cut to a second character over several days, and then when we return to the first they're just finishing that thing they were doing. And then when they meet up they've each just finished that last bit of narrative? I was thoroughly confused.

2) It took a long time to figure out what the main conflict was -- and this is the sort of thing that I DON'T want red herrings on. Similarly, many of the subplots felt disconnected (hopefully picked up in the third?).

3) One of the protagonists from the first (Mesema) (my favorite) was hardly in this one AT ALL. For no reason I could see. Except that she had a baby, as if that's supposed to justify her absence. (It doesn't.)
(This is mildly rectified by her straight-up calling her husband out on not letting her into the loop... but she doesn't do this until after the climax. And he doesn't express any remorse over lying to her the whole book.)

4) Williams often seems to get caught up in his own writing, circling back over the same issues with new and (less-than-)exciting metaphors... to the point that there are times I can't tell what's ACTUALLY happened. I mean, that's nice imagery and all, but what is the physical image I'm supposed to be seeing? Nice job on the internal thoughts that led to the conclusion, but HOW exactly did he do that thing?

...So yeah. I liked the story, and will definitely be on the lookout for the last in the trilogy, but this one was a classic second-book disappointment.

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Reading Progress

October 16, 2012 – Shelved
May 18, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read-sequel
May 18, 2013 – Shelved as: high-fantasy
August 17, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read-own-sequel
October 7, 2013 – Started Reading
October 7, 2013 –
page 15
October 7, 2013 –
page 26
October 8, 2013 –
page 39
October 8, 2013 –
page 51
October 9, 2013 –
page 75
October 9, 2013 –
page 85
October 11, 2013 –
page 111
October 12, 2013 –
page 131
October 13, 2013 –
page 171
October 14, 2013 –
page 196
October 15, 2013 –
page 222
October 15, 2013 –
page 237
October 17, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 4, 2013 – Shelved as: 2012-pub

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