Book Review: Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan

Title: Tyranny of Faith

Author: Richard Swan

Series: Empire of the Wolf #2

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: A Justice’s work is never done. The Battle of Galen’s Vale is over, but the war for the Empire’s future has just begun. Concerned by rumors that the Magistratum’s authority is waning, Sir Konrad Vonvalt returns to Sova to find the capital city gripped by intrigue and whispers of rebellion. In the Senate, patricians speak openly against the Emperor, while fanatics preach holy vengeance on the streets. Yet facing down these threats to the throne will have to wait, for the Emperor’s grandson has been kidnapped – and Vonvalt is charged with rescuing the missing prince. His quest will lead him – and his allies Helena, Bressinger and Sir Radomir – to the southern frontier, where they will once again face the puritanical fury of Bartholomew Claver and his templar knights – and a dark power far more terrifying than they could have imagined. -Goodreads

The Review:

One of the best books I read last year!

I liked Justice of Kings quite a bit, but wasn’t blown away by it. Even though the unconventional narrative won me over and I enjoyed my experience, I found the main character a bit hard to read and the mystery a bit underwhelming. By grace of the book gods, I picked up the sequel immediately and I’m SO GLAD I DID!

Gone were my problems with the main character – she grew into her own in a way that felt progressive and organic. I found a personal connection to her I was missing in the first book and as a result was 100% invested. In fact, all of the characters were compelling in their own way, their story arcs taking totally different directions than I was predicting – I love that. My favorite thing about the book, easily, was the relationships and bonds between the characters and the overwhelming sense of camaraderie. I usually have to pick up a Greatcoats novel for that.

The mystery element was awesome, involving a lot of moving pieces and gradually revealing answers without being too over-complicated. If I wasn’t in it completely for the characters, I would’ve been compelled to keep reading anyway just to figure out whodunnit. I loved the mash-up of fantasy/mystery (it read like a fantasy) and especially appreciated the legal components included in the book. There was this great debate of morality and justice on the merits of following the letter of the law vs. the spirit of it, which was particularly good food for thought and added a lot of depth. It’s great when authors can present grey-area problems that don’t have a clear right answer. It’s up to the characters to decide which hard decision to make and I find the thought-process fascinating. This is an intelligently written book.

The magic system was also a lot more realized. I usually don’t have patience for metaphysical components, but here it was handled well enough that for once it didn’t bother me.

And to boot: it was funnier.

Overall, I can’t wait for the next one!

Recommendations: pick up this series for great character companionship, an interesting exploration of justice, and an unconventional POV writing style. This series gets better and better as it goes along.

I’d like to thank Richard Swan, Orbit Books, and Netgalley for the chance to read and review an early copy of Tyranny of Faith – I loved it! :D

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