Series: The Songs of the Drowned #1
Release Date: November 26th 2020
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from my local bookshop
Rating: 5/5 stars
For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.
The Empire is not their only enemy. Monstrous, scaled predators lurk in rivers and streams, with a deadly music of their own.
As battle looms, fighters on both sides must decide how far they will go for their beliefs and for the ones they love – a veteran general seeks peace through war, a warrior and a shaman set out to understand their enemies, and an ambitious noble tries to bend ancient magic to her will.
The Godblind Trilogy by Anna Stephens is one of my all time favourite series, so I was incredibly intrigued to pick up the first in a new duology from the author. Set in the land of Ixachipan, this multi-perspective tale tells the story of people from two very different nations – those from the Empire of Songs and those of the free tribes, determined to resist the rule of the empire. Every other tribe has fallen to the Empire of Songs and the magical music that weaves through everything and everyone. The Empire will stop at nothing to make the Tokob and Yalotlan fall in line, but will they be able to resist where everyone else has failed?
This is such a compelling story and one I could not get enough of. Despite being over 600 pages, I raced through this book and Stephens does a magnificent job of weaving the plot together. The story is well paced, giving the reader a chance to get to know this fascinating world that’s full of compelling characters. One of the things I loved most about Godblind was the level of worldbuilding and The Stone Knife is just as well developed. I loved learning about the magic in this world, about the song that envelopes everything and the magic of the tribes. The drowned were also completely fascinating and I can’t wait to learn more in book two.
The story has plenty of action scenes and there are more than a few dark and gruesome moments that fans of Godblind have no doubt come to expect. Stephens does a brilliant job of writing battle scenes that leap off the page, each one creating a tense atmosphere that leaves the reader on the edge of their seat. Where the story shines most is the captivating characters – there are a number of POV characters who are on opposing sides and seeing these characters and their beliefs clash made for some very compelling reading. All the POV characters felt incredibly well developed, each with their own motivations. Generally, I find when I read a big epic fantasy story like this there are particular characters that I am most interested in, but with The Stone Knife I felt invested in all of them and I cannot wait to see where the story takes them. I absolutely loved Xessa and Tayan and while she’s a bit terrifying, I was completely fascinated by Enet.
The Stone Knife is a brilliant, unputdownable epic fantasy story. It was an immediate five star read and I cannot wait to read more from Anna Stephens in the future.