Book Review : The Silverblood Promise

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review : The Silverblood PromiseThe Silverblood Promise (The Last Legacy, #1) by James Logan
Published by Tor Books on May 7th 2024
Pages: 544
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop.org
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five-stars
Source: NetGalley

Set in a city of traders and thieves, monsters and murderers, this fast-paced epic fantasy debut is a must-read for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Nicholas Eames, and Scott Lynch.
Lukan Gardova is a cardsharp, academy dropout, and—thanks to a duel that ended badly—the disgraced heir to an ancient noble house. His days consist of cheap wine, rigged card games, and wondering how he might win back the life he threw away.
When Lukan discovers that his estranged father has been murdered in strange circumstances, he finds fresh purpose. Deprived of his chance to make amends for his mistakes, he vows to unravel the mystery behind his father's death.
His search for answers leads him to Saphrona, fabled city of merchant princes, where anything can be bought if one has the coin. Lukan only seeks the truth, but instead he finds danger and secrets in every shadow.
For in Saphrona, everything has a price—and the price of truth is the deadliest of all.

The Silverblood Promise is a fast-paced, rip-roaring fantasy debut that had me hooked from the very first page. The novel is also filled to the brim with loveable characters, interesting character dynamics, and excellent banter. And if that weren’t enough to get readers interested, The Silverblood Promise also involves hair-brained schemes, heists, murder mysteries, and secrets of an extinct ancient race (or two).

 

The novel follows Lukan Gardova, a disreputable and all-but disowned son from a formerly prominent family, who is called back home after the murder of his estranged father. His father left a mysterious note written in his own blood for his son, pointing him towards a foreign nation. Filled with regret for not repairing his relationship with his dad while he had the chance and determined to do this one last thing for him, Lukan sets out to Saphrona to solve the mysteries surrounding his father’s death. There, he quickly finds himself in over his head, and waist high in intrigue, both political and involving forces far beyond his understanding.

 

“I’m just wondering whether your father uncovered information―a secret, perhaps―that his murderer wanted to protect.”*

 

Lukan is not without allies though. By his side is Flea, a young street urchin who is quick on her feet and without much left to lose. Lukan and Flea have an incredible dynamic, though not quite like father-and-daughter, it is reminiscent of it simply due to their age gap. However, Flea saves Lukan’s skin just as often as he saves hers, so it’s really fun to watch. Though I have seen other reviewers compare their bond to Ellie and Joel’s relationship from The Last of Us, I personally felt more of an older brother-sister dynamic from these two rather than that of a father-daughter dynamic. Regardless of the details, I enjoyed their constant back-and-forth banter, which always felt natural to me.

 

Banter and dialogue in general is definitely one of author James Logan’s strong suits. Conversations show (not tell) characters’ back stories and tragic pasts in an organic way that never feels like mere story setup. Instead, it feels like readers merely have a front row seat to a friend bearing his or her soul to another trusted person. This type of storytelling really shows off the author’s writing craft, as it never felt like it slowed down the story, and instead was a natural part of characters getting to know one another. As a reader, it also made me feel that much more attached to the characters and their relationships.

 

“‘If you knew me better,’ he replied, rising to his feet, ‘you’ll know I have two weaknesses.’

‘Only two?’
‘Dark-eyed women and unopened bottles.’

‘In that case, I’m glad I have green eyes.’

And honestly, I was immediately invested in Lukan’s life. I loved that the book didn’t shy away from his flaws, reminding me a bit of Han Solo—who has a devil-may-care attitude and a propensity to save his own skin. You’re never quite sure if he’ll show up when you need him, but somehow he always does in a way that defies all possible expectations. Fans of The Kingkiller Chronicles will love Lukan as well, because Lukan has a lot of Kvothe’s quick wit (and his appreciation for women). However, Lukan feels a lot more human and less legendary to me than Kvothe, simply from his willingness to admit his own flaws to himself and others. Lukan’s not telling the story of his youth years down the road and reflecting on his mistakes, in hindsight, like Kvothe, but is instead taking ownership of his faults in the present.

 

“‘Remarkable,’ Delastro said, shaking her head. ‘Not content with making enemies of the three most powerful men in the city, not to mention the Twice-Crowned King, you’re now intent on crossing the Faceless. How far do you intend to push your luck, Gardova?’

‘As far as I have to.’ Which is likely to be a damned long way.”

To be quite honest, it’s hard for me to even think of any drawbacks or criticisms of The Silverblood Promise because I simply had so much fun reading it. Though if I had to come up with a complaint, it’s that not a lot of new territory is covered in this book. It has a lot of the same types of beloved tropes and archetypes that we see time and time again in fantasy, and while these are executed with aplomb in The Silverblood Promise, some readers may be a bit bored with the lack of newness. I, however, was not one of those readers and enjoyed every second in this world, which was filled with both political intrigue and fantastical mysteries.

 

I’d also say that though the characters are flawed and complex, the novel is so fast-paced and jam-packed with intrigue and the need for getting out of constant bad situations, that there just isn’t a whole lot of time to be spared on tons of emotional depth. But with the characters just getting to know each other and dealing with lots of very pressing matters, this lack of trauma exploration makes sense for the story. With the groundwork for the characters, their background, and the world-building laid, I can easily see future installments in the series exploring the emotions of the characters even further, as The Silverblood Promise has definitely hinted at decorated pasts for all of its characters.

 

And I can’t wait to find out more about all of the characters and the mysteries of the world in The Silverblood Promise. This was such a fantastic debut and I am dying to read future installments of the series. I cannot wait to see what else this author writes in the future.

 

*All quotes taken from an ARC and subject to change at time of publication.

 

five-stars
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Book Review : The Silverblood Promise - Blogging with Dragons

Posted February 5, 2024 in ARCS, Book Reviews, Fantasy, Favorite Books

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