Good morning! Last reviews for August coming at you right now!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Crownbreaker by Sebastian De Castell
Synopsis From The Book
A failed mage learns that just because he’s not the chosen one it doesn’t mean he can’t be a hero in final book of the Spellslinger series.
Once an outlaw spellslinger, Kellen Argos has made a life for himself as the Daroman Queen’s protector. A little magic and a handful of tricks are all it takes to deal with the constant threats to her reign. But when rumors of an empire-shattering war begin to stir, Kellen is asked to commit an unimaginable act to protect his queen.
Inside enemy territory, he quickly realizes something is amiss. Someone is playing a dangerous game. And to discover their secrets, Kellen will have to challenge the greatest spellcaster who’s ever lived.
Fantasy | YA – PW |Destruction, Killing God, Manipulation, Near Death | Choices, Tricks, Hopes, Truth and Lies
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright! Let’s do this! I have been waiting for this book for a year now. I read this series last year, or the first book at least, for this exact same event. Now I am reading the last book in the series. Ooooh yes
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
What a journey. Here I am just relishing in it all, so happy that I went on this journey to begin with. I’m going to miss the Argosi so much. And the way this ended, wowowow. Although it always began and ended with the Ja’tep. I knew it would. The series review will probably dive into the Argosi so far
The book opens with Kellen performing a heist on a man who tried to kill him and leaving. He is arrested by the Queen’s marshals for not letting them do their job and dealing with the assassin. On his way there, his mother comes to him in a spell and offers him cards. She tells him that there may be a way to get his magic back. Kellen goes to Torian, and she poisons him and takes him to the secret council of Mummers who want to kill him. He gets out of the paralysis, and is confronted by his father. His father reveals a boy who is aging too quick. A boy who will destroy them all and that Kellen needs to kill him. Kellen leaves after they agree not to kill him. He talks with his father and realizes his father does want him home, his father does love him, and that an emissary died getting the information. Kellen realizes that the Mummers and his father want him to kill the boy, because he is a skilled assassin. He refuses. Kellen goes to talk to the queen and is harassed on the way there by guards who stop him as he’s moving. He talks to Torian and then his sister contacts him. She reveals to him that their mother is dead and has been for a while. Kellen realizes that she was the emissary and the message she sent to Kellen, came late.
They go to Kellen’s home city, for the funeral. The queen and a mass of guards and soldiers. They are preparing for a war. Kellen knows that everyone is pushing him but it’s not his path. That is when The Queen gives him Ferius. She and he have an emotional bonding moment, and Kellen resigns as Tutor if Cards. He is told to go to his father but makes his father wait. His father tells him that their people are getting weaker with each generation, and that if they go to war their way of life and culture will be gone forever. Kellen still disagrees. Shalla and his father put him under a spell and when he wakes he sees Torian, his sister, his father, the queen and soldiers, Shalla, and Reichis. He also sees that on his arm around one of the counter bands for ember, there is a new set of markings. He is able to spark just one digit on ember. He has a chance of getting his magic back, but it will take years. Talking with Ferius, he learns that she was hit by the malediction and now he has a true reason to kill a boy god.
Kellen and Ferius leave that night. They get in with a band of soldiers, Kellen getting the shit beat out of them. He plays games with the leader for their journey and they make it to the city. Once there, Kellen, Ferius, and Reichis sneak in. They go to the temple and investigate it. Ferius passes out and Kellen searches for the traveler’s saloon, but realizes he must go back to the square and finds the people worshiping the god who has appeared. The boy speaks to Kellen in his head and Kellen realizes the kids doesn’t even know if he’s god. Rosie finds them and helps them get to the Travelers Saloon where Ferius’ parents help wake her up. Kellen watches fifty other Argosi debate on what to do and understands that Ferius really didn’t teach him much. He realizes he must go to the god and that game is rigged always to go to war. Ferius says he must go and Kellen almost gets in a fight with the path of floating lillies. Nephenia shows up and declares that she will protect Kellen. Both she and Kellen are called barely trained teysan. Kellen gets a map from the Path of Mountain Storm who was Ferius’ student before Kellen. He’s jealous but he leaves.
The four sneak in but are chased first. Another person has snuck in and things seem like a set up. They arrive to see that the boy god is being forced to grow through the shadowblack. They speak to him and Kellen learns that the vizers want to use him to unite their people and only have one god, one codex, not six. Torian appears and she says she will kill the boy. She reveals that Ginvera doesn’t have the shadowblack and she lied to keep Kellen with her. Torian and Kellen fights and he proves he always has one more trick. They escape with him, using the dice to cut him off from those who were activating his shadowblack to control him. The Argosi agree to bring him to the girl queen to make a deal.
Kellen is in the desert traveling back. Rosie and Ferius love each other and Kellen finds out his father is looking for him. He speaks to his father. He learns his mother went abroad to find a way to heal Kellen. His father discovered the way to use the shadowblack to heal Kellen through her but also to create the false god. He convinced the other people it was their decision. He wants the two large armies to destroy each other and then Ja’tep would rule them all. Kellen says no and his sister is angry. His father threatens all that Kellen cares for and then he reveals his army of mages. Kellen reveals that the Argosi are there, all of them, and they are ready to fight too. With a squirrel cat clan that Rechis found. Kellen says he’ll duel his father. Ferius says he’s ready. Nephemia says no one believes him when he says he has one more trick, but she wants to hear it anyway. Kellen and his father fight. Kellen has tricks, and he does what he can but he tells his father it is his sister’s decision to decide. She’s the hero of the story. And then right before Kellen might die, lightning strikes.
Shalla kills her father and Kellen is brought back to the dead. As he heals. Shalla is made ruler of the Ja’Tep, and she signs the treaty with the queen and boy god. The boy god declares that all the books are right and that one book can’t truly explain the many facets of a god, which is why there are differences. Kellen is offered jobs that he declines. He then watches as his friends leave and he too leaves with Reichis who got out of his contract with his species. They travel across the sea and there are a lot of stars in the sky.
What I Liked:
Kellen’s Choice; His choice to leave, as well as his choice to give Shalla the final choice in the fight, was great. Also, how he decided not to kill the god kid. I liked all of it. Kellen has been an entertaining character from start to finish, so I liked seeing his one last trick.
Shalla’s Choice; Her choice between her father and brother was heart breaking. However, her picking Kellen meant she was picking the future over the past and I respect her for that. I had always wondered why she was here for so long but now I know. I’m happy she picked her brother.
All the Argosi; We got to see so many of them this time. I’m ecstatic about that. They are always my favorite part of the book, and the fact that we got so much on them, of them, and about them? I love it.
The ending; The fact that Kellen left the continent to go to somewhere new, I love that. I am not sure how I expected it to end, but not this way. However, in retrospect, it makes the most sense, even if there were a lot of lose ends. It’s sort of like life in that way, that there are so many left over things, always. Not everything will be wrapped in a cute bow.
Kellen getting his magic back; Oh I did not realize how much I needed Kellen to get his magic back until he got his magic back in a small bit. It was beautiful, it was painful. I needed him to get more of it, just as he wanted to get more of it back. Maybe one day he will, but it will take a life time and he has much to experience until then.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Not sure. The ending was pretty much what I expected it to be. The journey on the other continent is done, the new one is just beginning. Will Kellen ever find a cure for the Shadowblack? Maybe. Who knows.
“It may not have been your intention, son, but you have made yourself into the most formidable assassin on the continent.”- pg 95
“We don’t get to decide our fates, only what meaning we give them.” – pg 197