A Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

Before starting A Court of Broken Knives I was reading Leviathan Wakes. For those who haven’t read Leviathan Wakes, it’s a really easy and smooth read, fast and fun. You fly through pages without realizing it. Opening A Court of Broken Knives I had to not just pump the breaks but slam on them. The writing is thick and poetic. It isn’t the type of prose that you fly through, each word is loaded. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the writing, I did and it didn’t bother me to slow down this much. It reminded me of the mind set I have when reading someone like Bakker or Erikson. It’s a different approach.  The book switches from first person to third person and omniscient POVs and some readers can be put off by that. The action scenes are specially enthralling, putting you in a position of not only seeing what the characters see but the feelings and thoughts they have during these events. You feel uneasy and a sense of chaos happening all around you. The sentences and word give you a sense of panic and that you have no control or sense of all that’s going on, a tunnel vision that makes sense during a battle like this from a characters perspective fighting for their life. It reminded me of the uneasy feeling I had reading someone like Adrian Selby.

We switch POV’s now and then but stick with each character enough to grab onto them and attach yourself to them. It jumps around but not too often. There aren’t many characters that you really truly root for, but I wanted to know more about them and how they fit into the world. None of them are completely likable and you can go from feeling sorry for them and the next minute fearing what they’ll do because they are so unpredictable. Their motivations aren’t always clear, but that adds to the suspense and political maneuvering. Lots of political maneuvering and even some double crosses. You never really trust anyone, the world is gritty and unforgiving. The world is on the verge of something having go give and you feel it rocking back and fourth knowing something will give soon.

It’s fascinating how the world uses religion as means of control. The traditions change over time, so what starts out as a necessary sacrifice becomes less often when it’s not as popular. Some absolutely brutal scenes that play out because of these traditions or beliefs. How those traditions can be manipulated and controlled by outside forces or people in positions of power. We learn about the history and the past, creating a clearer idea of what their motivations may be.

You start to wonder if prolonged periods of peace are intentionally sabotaged over the course of our own history. Do we crave conflict? Do we get bored when it’s peaceful for too long?

If you like to go into books blind, avoid the synopsis.

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