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Book Review: Skullsworn

Table of Contents

“Pyrre Lakatur is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer―she is a priestess. At least, she will be once she passes her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. The problem, rather, is love. For to complete her trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the seven people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one who made your mind and body sing with love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre isn’t sure she’s ever been in love. And if she fails to find someone who can draw such passion from her, or fails to kill that someone, her order will give her to their god, the God of Death. Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail, and so, as her trial is set to begin, she returns to the city of her birth in the hope of finding love . . . and ending it on the edge of her sword.”

Title: Skullsworn

Series: Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne #4 (Standalone)

Author: Brian Staveley

Page Count: 320

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: June 10th, 2023

As I’ve had Skullsworn on my shelf longer than any other book from this world, I figured now that I have the trilogy under my belt, it’s time I continue on and get through this standalone.
I’m not sure what it was with this one but it just didn’t connect with me as well as the trilogy did. Granted they were all audiobook listens and Skullsworn was a different narrator. Nothing against Elizabeth’s performance as I had no troubles following along. But Simon Vance form the trilogy is a legend and one of my favorite narrators.
The pacing was solid for Skullsworn. I didn’t really have any issues following along nor did I ever get the feeling of things slowing down to a slog either.
The worldbuilding was interesting as we are still within the Unhewn Throne world but we just have a bit different perspective from our main point of view for this one. So I could put this into the category of expanding the world I already know into yet more details. We specifically get more details on this worlds religion in Skullsworn.
The character building was probably the strongest point for this one. Brian continues to show a great ability in laying out character arcs. We have some interesting relationships in Skullsworn and the way things came full circle at the end is what really saved this one for me. I was struggling to connect with these characters for whatever reason until about the last 20% or so where things really started coming together.
Having some discussion within the community I may be in the minority here with enjoying the trilogy a bit more than this standalone. With that being said, I’d still recommend this read to anyone looking to learn yet more of this world that Brian Staveley has built here. I’m not sure if reading this standalone first may or may not have been better for me. It honestly might have.
I do still have the Empire’s Ruin which begins the next series in this world. I just noticed this is narrated by Moira Quirk which I have loved in another series I’m still working through.

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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