My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Review: City of Keys

City of Keys City of Keys by Kat Ross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Previous Review of City of Storms 
Previous Review of City of Wolves 

This is the third installment of a four (4) book series that moves the story to the City of Nantwich (Emblem of Crossed Keys) … after a very slow start with Malach in the Land of Witches that didn’t really do much for me (although I was pleased to see an Arc of Redemption start to play out for him).  Once we actually get to Nantwich things start to pick up once again … and for the first time we get an undeniable big bad as the powerful nightmage Balaur (revealed in the previous book) gathers his forces under the Banner of the Black Sun to return to power … now that the Void is gone and the Ley restored to the nightmage cities (with secrets and betrayals throughout).  The previous Cold War is now very Hot … perhaps enough to even pull in the mysterious witches.

There is less world building here (still some with the Witch Realm) and once the action gets going, that pulls you through the story quickly as the focus seems to shift to more character building (especially Malach and Nikola); although we do see a few hints as to how the current world came to be and a vague reference to a bound or sleeping dragon.  What I continue to find interesting are the flawed heroes that rise to the occasion to [mostly] carry the day.  The magic system of Marks, Alchemy, Cartomancy,  Lithomancy (Witches) gain a little more definition, but still manage to avoid becoming so over the top that it derails the plot (and I continued to enjoy that as well).  What really drives this part of the series though is the political intrigue that still manages delivers surprises that place ur heroes in a variety of difficult situations.  Although the bloom is off the rose, this is still a fanatic series and this book will join the others on my favorites shelf … looking forward to the conclusion in the City of Dawn (as the story moves to the southern desert).

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#CityOfKeys #BookSirens

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.