Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it.
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As the second book in a trilogy, it is difficult to go too deeply into this book without spoilers but let’s give it a go.
First off, there are a ton of nods to the Starz TV series Spartacus. The structure of the language that is used, the plot of a child of a nobleman striving to prove themselves to their father by way of having a successful gladiatorial collegium. There are allusions to rebellion and the evils of slavery. It is easy to think that maybe this is just kind of a typical gladiator-style story and this story does kind of follow a general track for that kind of book. However, the captain of the guard for the collegium was named Gannicus, who was a major character is the Spartacus series. This kind of cements the theory that much of the storyline for this book was inspired by the TV show.
That said, this book is not a rip off of the show. Mia is still searching for her revenge against Consul Scaeva who killed her father. Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the closure of a series of gladiatorial games and so Mia sets her sights on selling herself into slavery to become a gladiator so she may stand face to face with the man that ruined her family.
It is very different from the first book which took place in an assassin school. Oddly enough, the competition between characters is much less in the gladiator story than it was in the assassin school. In Nevernight, each character was really out for themselves to become a member of the Red Church. In Godsgrave, there is really no competition to be the best gladiatii. So the nature of the relationships shifts from one of competition with everyone to one where Mia is developing deep friendships with people that she may end up getting killed if all goes well.
Apart from a handful, most of the characters in this book were not a part of Nevernight. Several of them were easy to connect to. 12 year old Maggot was both adorable and creepy. Sidonius, a foul-mouthed slave with the word “COWARD” engraved on his chest entered the story as something of an annoyance but the more that is revealed about his past, the more Mia comes to trust and even respect him.
But having an almost entirely new cast for this second book almost made it feel more like a standalone book than a continuation of a series.
The overarching plot of revenge against Scaeva and Mia attempting to learn more about what it means to be darkin seems to move at a snail’s pace. There is some moderately significant movement on the former by the end of this book but only tidbits for the last with hints that it is going to be a major thing.
When I went into Nevernight, I wasn’t really honestly expecting much from it and so I was really pleasantly surprised by just how good it is. So going into Godsgrave, I did have a little bit higher expectations. I seem to be of the minority opinion again. I truly enjoyed this book and think it was a worthy sequel to Nevernight. Was it as good? I go back and forth on this. Maybe, maybe not. Either way it is still a good book and has a lot to offer.
I do have a spoilery comment that I would like to make. As I don’t have a way to hide it in this post, be sure the check out my goodreads review for this book if you are interested!
I don’t feel I can give an honest review due to the fact that I did not finish this book. While I enjoyed it, I think its predecessor was better in a few ways. Mostly having a better supporting cast. Characters that I cared about. This one had good characters but I didn’t feel as strongly about them as I did with the original ones.
Wish I had more to say but we said quiet a bit in our spoiler full review on our podcast so go check it out!