In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.
After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit… and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.
Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?
Discover what’s lurking in the shadows in this dark fantasy debut with a murder-mystery twist, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kerri Maniscalco.
Content Warning: various types of violence (shooting, poisoning, beheading), graphic descriptions of blood/bodies, death of parents/ friends/ siblings, a parent depicted with memory loss/confusion, PTSD and flashbacks, descriptions of war, prejudice, religious intolerance, hallucinations, paranoia, alcoholism, and mentions of self-harm.
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About the Author:
M. K. Lobb is a fantasy writer with a love of all things dark— be it literature, humour, or general aesthetic. She grew up in small-town Ontario and studied political science at both the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa. She now lives by the lake with her partner and their cats. When not reading or writing, she can be found at the gym or contemplating the harsh realities of existence.
Her debut novel SEVEN FACELESS SAINTS will be published February 7, 2023 by Little, Brown (Hachette). The sequel, DISCIPLES OF CHAOS, will follow in early 2024. M. K. is represented by Claire Friedman at InkWell Management.
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My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
I received a digital ARC from the publisher via TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review and place on this blog tour – thanks!
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I am always a bit hesitant diving into a new YA fantasy series, as I find that sometimes there is a lack of world building in favour of characters, but Seven Faceless Saints does an excellent job at balancing between character building and world development. I instantly fell into the writing of this book, and had a hard time putting it down until I was finished.
Ombrazia is a city state that seems to be heavily influenced by Italian/Roman references. I quite enjoyed the way that the state itself was built up in this book, and I look forward to the next book’s building up of the other/rival state as I think that is one piece of the story I felt was missing here. The magic was built into the story seamlessly, in a way that did not feel like an info dump which I have been getting used to in fantasies recently.
Damian and Roz are both very complicated characters, and at times it did become a bit overwhelming. They have a very complicated, imo toxic, relationship with one another. I hope that there will be more development between them in the next book, otherwise I think the skip over the lovers to enemies to lovers(??) again might have been too soon. All I am asking for is a true slow burn!! Will I ever find it again???? Stay tuned.
At the heart of this books is the murders, and Damian and Roz’s attempts to solve them. I do have to say, Damian does not make a very good detective. There were a lot of red flags I saw and wanted to shake some sense into him to see them too. His worldview is cracking, especially with the ending of the book, and I hope in the next book we will get to see more development. That being said, the mystery was really well written and although I had my suspicions, they came together in a way I hadn’t entirely been expecting.
All in all, Seven Faceless Saints was an impressive debut! I really enjoyed this story and Lobb’s writing, and I imagine I will be continuing this series when the next book comes out.
Seven Faceless Saints released February 7th, 2023
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