ARC Review: Priest of Bones

Hello beautiful people! And happy Monday to everyone! I hope your week has started in the best possible way… I’m not too happy with my working schedule, but in a couple of days (three to be precise) I’ll have two days off and I am really looking forward to them! Anyway… back on track! Today I am here to speak to you about a book that I was really looking forward to. When they approved my request on NetGalley I was the happiest ever! And I am happy to say that the book didn’t disappoint me, yay!

A big thank you to NetGalley and to the editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Priest of Bones
Series: War of the Rose Throne #1
Author: Peter McLean
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018
Page Count: 352

It’s a dangerous thing, to choose the lesser of two evils.

The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety finally heads home with Lieutenant Bloody Anne at his side. When he arrives in the Stink, Tomas finds that his empire of crime has been stolen from him while at war. With his gang of Pious Men, Tomas will do whatever it takes to reclaim his businesses. But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, and is forced to work in secret for the sinister Queen’s Men, everything gets more complicated.
When loyalties stretch to the breaking point and violence only leads to violence, when people have run out of food, and hope, and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy. As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the backstreet taverns and gambling dens of Tomas’s old life it becomes clear; the war is not over.

It is only just beginning.

Let’s begin from the most important thing: I loved this book and if you are in for a grimdark reading with a great narrator and some introspection in it, well wait no more! Stop reading here and go read the book!

There are so many reasons to like this book, that I may not even cover all of them here, but let’s try and write something sensible! First thing first, I like that this is a book about what happens next, in some ways. And I think I am becoming a fan of this kind of books, like Redemption’s Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky, I really like to see what happens after all the things we usually see in fantasy books have happened. And so we have Tomas Piety who is coming home from the war with some of his men. The reign went to war and the war now is won (even if there is no big difference between the win and the loss, it seems) so the men, the few who survived it all, can go back home. But what would expect them there?
Tomas had a criminal empire before the war (ok, a small reign of crime would be more accurate) and he’s looking forward to going back to it, and he’s taking with him the men (and a woman) who fought with him and survived till the end. But the things aren’t as they were before, and so the Piety boys (because on the way back to home Tomas meet his little brother, Jochan, who is returning home with his men, too) come back to a city who is different and all their hard work from before the war is gone. They have to retake what was theirs and it won’t be an easy work!
So this is the first thing I loved. You see what happens when the heroes come back and the war it’s ended and done. And yes, mind me, the Pietys aren’t really heroes, but they are the right men for the right job (and if you have read the book, this one would ring a bell, wouldn’t it?), they served the reign, and now all they want is to go back to their lives. But life isn’t so easy, is it now?

And then we have the narrator. I think that this is the best thing about this book! Tomas is the only narrator, and he’s writing his memories, or it seems so, with his own voice. He has a distinctive voice, he’s always him and you start to feel like you know him since forever, that you two are two old friends because his way of speaking is real and it’s characterized perfectly. He has a down to heart way of speaking, and you can really feel him tell the tale, and I know that I can’t make him justice, but trust me, the author did an amazing job with him!

And then we have the characters. They are great! We have this gang of different persons came together for the war and who now stay together because they don’t have anything else. And some of them are great: Jochan is not my favorite, really, but I liked him, sort of, and Bloody Anne, Cutter (I need to know more about him because I really like him, even if we don’t see a lot about him!), Fat Luka (even if I think that he can have some surprises for us in the next books) and Billy the Boy. This one has a ton of potentialities and I am really curious to see what would be done with him in the next books. And we have Tomas. He’s a magnificent character. He’s so complex and, at the same time, so down to heart, so relatable in a strange way, and even if he’s a criminal and a soldier and a priest, and a boss, and a lot of other things, he’s a good man at the core and we see how he really try to do good for his people. And that’s a thing that I appreciated immensely!

If I have to find something “negative” in this book, is that it’s a character-driven book, and even if this is exactly my kind of book, the plot is not the best ever. It’s not boring, and it’s also fast-paced and full of action, that’s true, but it seems like it lacks something. It’s not really a bad bad thing, because I prefer good characters over a good plot, to be honest, but if we have good characters and a good plot well… that’s just amazing, right?!
But mind me, it’s not that we have a bad plot here, or an uninteresting one, or boring or plain. Not at all! The plot is quite good, but to be a fastidious person it could have been better, and that’s why I didn’t give this book 5 solid stars.

Anyway, this book was great! And now I want the second one! Right now, please! I have great expectations from this series and I can tell you that I am already missing Tomas and his crew! And I have to confess that I have fallen in love with it right away: I read the dramatis personae and I knew that I would have loved it! It gets me hooked up from the first line, literally and kept my attention, and my heart, in a grip!


Have you read it? Or have you read something else from this author? Let me know!

Happy reading!

9 thoughts on “ARC Review: Priest of Bones

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