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“’A civil war on that scale would make Harfal little more than a mass grave.’
‘There would be death. There would be chaos. But this time there would be a lasting peace…’

Follow Cael, Emil, Merily and the others as they try to make sense of the world after the thrilling conclusion of The Traitors We Are.”

Title: A Grave for Us All

Series: Crown and Tide #2

Author: Michael Roberti

Page Count: 489

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.75/5.0

Date Read: March 31st, 2024

I read The Traitors We Are last year and loved it. It was a book that was timed perfectly for me as I had a lot of time on my hands at that point and was able to sit down often and just devour a lot of it. Fast forward close to a year later and I was having a conversation with the author as I had his novella from this series on my radar since shortly after finishing the first book. He let me know at that time the second book A Grave for Us All was due to be released in a couple of months and asked if I would be interested in giving an eARC a read through. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to fit it in before it officially released but once again the timing just worked out nicely.
 
I didn’t find myself with quite as much time to sit down and read A Grave for Us All as I had The Traitors We Are but I still found myself picking this one up as often as I could and still ended up getting through it in just a few days. Before I get to my usual breakdown of my three main topics I rate, I’ll say that the writing growth was very evident in this book. The overall theme and feel is still very similar to what I’ve read with book one and the novella. The difference is the scale of the scheming and weaving plots to see them twist and turn and eventually come together nearing the end.
 
The pacing was smooth. There is a lot going on with this book and yet I some how continued to just flow right along. I think the fact that it’s the second book and we both have a nice list of characters at the front and we should be fairly familiar with a lot of these characters helps with that. This isn’t one of those non-stop action type of reads but there always seemed to be something going on whether it was solid action, educating us on situations or that sense of something building up and about to happen. This read had each of them for my tastes.
 
The world development was very strong in book two. We get to know this world even better. We were introduced to a lot of geographical regions in book one but this time around we get to know them more in depth in regards of why certain factions or cultures act as they do. I’m a bit of a history fan as well so when books provide history within their stories, it usually resonates with me well. Having those understandings really brings the story and it’s characters to life more in my opinion.
 
The character development was also really strong again. I was surprised to see our small groups of characters kind of do their own things through most of this book before those plots and characters really started coming together. But we seen a lot of growth and depth for many of the characters this time around. Cael is continuing to struggle with figuring out who he was, is and will be. Freia has a solid arc this time around where we see a lot of growth for her. Of course I have to mention Merily as we learn so much more about her this time around. I’m excited to see where things end up with her moving forward! Then on the Keep side of things we continue to learn more about Emil and the other Lords and Ladies who all seem to be scheming one way or another. Then we also have a lot going on with what I’ll call our wild group with includes the religious and magic groups.
 
The depth of this story which has begun to reveal itself this time around shows some amazing promise of things still to come. I mentioned to Michael that book two gave me more Game of Throne vibes with all the different factions and the plots with each of them. Book one had quite the body count and I’m not sure this one touched that simply because we didn’t have the scale of large battles it had. But as far as deaths with what seem more important characters this one is easily equal if not more brutal.
 
I also really liked the notes from the author at the very end. I always enjoy hearing how the ideas behind the books happen. In this case it was interesting to know that a major event over half way through book two was initially slated to happen within book one. I definitely agree it worked well taking place in this read, even if I felt it was still long overdue and I kept hoping it would happen sooner in book two.
 
As for the recommendations, I’d of course say if you enjoyed book one, definitely give this a go but be ready for some changes this time around. I feel these changes are for the good though. If you’re new to the Crown and Tide series in general but like those darker brutal epic fantasy stories, give this a try.

World Building 5/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 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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