Saint’s Blood is by far, imo the best entry in the series so far. It’s a worthy entry for a penultimate book and it has exceeded my expectation of the series. I won’t go as far as calling this book a masterpiece but there’s no doubt that I enjoyed reading it cover to cover immensely, right down to the last page, literally. If you’re like me who always read every single word in a book, starting from the publication details (it’s normal right?) up to the acknowledgement, do know that there’s a bonus scene that Sebastien prepared for you at the last page after the acknowledgement section, don’t miss it!
The plot started 4 months after the end of Knight’s Shadow and it began quickly with a great duel fight and the dying of a Saint. Each entry in the Greatcoats series have an overarching arc and although the stories always continue with the same characters but the main enemies they faced in each entry are always different and this time, the Greatcoats will have to solve the mystery behind the Saint’s deaths and deal with the worse adversary they ever met so far. The new enemies, the God’s Needles are disturbing, bloody, and diabolical, although there probably won’t be a scene as powerful as 'The Greatcoats Lament' from book 2, every battle in Saint’s Blood is so much more exhilarating and breathtaking which more than made up for it.
Not only the book contained a plethora of intricate battle scenes, the pacing of this book is also very fast paced, addictive plot aside, this is probably due to the fact that chapters are shorter this time compared to previous books, where Knight’s Shadow have 48 chapter with more pages, Saint’s Blood have almost 80 chapters with less amount of pages. The pacing is only slow in the first 100 pages but after that, almost every chapter ended with a cliffhanger that pushed me into continuing, the 'one more chapter' syndrome is very evident here. With so much tension, Saint’s Blood showed exactly just how evil Tristia, the country of sorrow is with its injustice, tyranny and self righteous people, Saint’s Blood dive into the topic of how far people will go for power wonderfully that it made me wonder if the country is even worth saving at all.
“How can anything good come from a place where all I can see are cruel, petty men ruling the world?”
During my time of reading this book, I can’t help but also feel that the plot is an allusion to our real world situation since this time, the major theme of the book focused a lot on religion, consecration and desecration, specifically conflict because of religion. I’m not here to do a lecture on religion, I’m not the most well versed individual on this topic but we all know from the shit we see every day how people used religion as an excuse for war, terrorism or self-gain. Kids who have never experience graduation or adulthood died for no reason because some people claimed that it is “God’s Will” to do so, it’s fucking unfair.
However, as usual, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how far it is. The only way to reach that light is to do something that we always knew but most of the time forgot, stand up against injustice, starting from ourselves, together with your closest ones and this book made a perfect example of these situations and solutions wonderfully.
“If not us, then who? Who’s going to stand when everyone kneels? Who’s going to argue for the law even when there’s no justice to be had? Who’s going to try even when the trying is too damned hard?”
This book is a fantastic balance between character driven and plot driven book, despite the book being fast paced and done in 1st person view, Falcio, Brasti (my personal favorite), Kest, Valiana, you know what? I’m just going to say everyone (even the villain), have a stunning development in their character’s growth and relationship. The banter and interactions between our main trios is the best so far, their endless bickering, hilarious dialogues (funniest entry so far) and banter entertained me immensely. I’m delighted to see how much detail Sebastien put into the trios deepening friendship through their endless challenges, especially for Falcio, this guy must have the highest amount of both bad luck and good luck but it’s only because of this that we were able to see how much the trio care so much towards each other. Gimme some more of that bromance!
Lastly, the prose and world-building do receive significant improvement, with the story centered on the Saints, we finally get to know more about them, the Gods, their creation and their power. Unlike the previous two book, a lot of magic are in the book now and with Sebastien’s improved prose in guiding the story, everything worked greatly for me.
Saint’s Blood is a fantastic sequel and definitely the best entry in the series so far. It was too enjoyable to read and so hard for me to put down, sleeping hours were sacrificed, I can hear the book begged me to read every time I took a break it was crazy. I highly recommend this series for any lover of adult fantasy stories, now let me continue my journey with the Greatcoats one last time in 'Tyrant’s Throne.'