Book: “The Liar’s Knot” by M. A. Carrick
Publishing Info: Little, Brown Book Group, December 2021
Where Did I Get this Book: ARC from the publisher
Book Description: In Nadezra, peace is as tenuous as a single thread. The ruthless House Indestor has been destroyed, but darkness still weaves through the city’s filthy back alleys and jewel-bright gardens, seen by those who know where to look.
Derossi Vargo has always known. He has sacrificed more than anyone imagines to carve himself a position of power among the nobility, hiding a will of steel behind a velvet smile. He’ll be damned if he lets anyone threaten what he’s built.
Grey Serrado knows all too well. Bent under the yoke of too many burdens, he fights to protect the city’s most vulnerable. Sooner or later, that fight will demand more than he can give.
And Ren, daughter of no clan, knows best of all. Caught in a knot of lies, torn between her heritage and her aristocratic masquerade, she relies on her gift for reading pattern to survive. And it shows her the web of corruption that traps her city.
But all three have yet to discover just how far that web stretches. And in the end, it will take more than knives to cut themselves free…
Previously Reviewed: “The Mask of Mirrors”
Review: I really enjoyed the first book in this series. It was a fairly massive undertaking: a long book with multiple POV characters and a lot of world-building that needed to be done to set the scene. That said, I felt like the book was fast-going and I was excited to pick up this one, the second in the series. And while this one was a bit slower than the first, I still found myself enjoying it quite a lot.
Lies and secrets crisscross and tangle in Nadezra. And with so many spiders spinning their own webs, knots are sure to form when one too many plots intersect with another. Derossi, Grey, and Ren know all too well the struggle that comes with trying to push forward one’s own agenda when to do so means running across a million others with their own plots and plans. And while steps have been made, each feels their own particular knots begin to slip further and further from their grasp. What truths are out there to be discovered? And will these exposures save or destroy them?
While you definitely got hints of the type of story this series is setting out to be, it really feels like it comes into its own here in the second: world-building, world-building, world-building! The first book had a decent amount of plot action at the heart of the story, what with introducing our main trio of characters and also Ren’s ongoing con. We also were waiting to learn the true identity of the Rook. With both of those plotlines played out, this book was much, much lighter on the action and pacing. This could be a struggle for some readers who want to see a faster moving story, but for those who really like to explore and sink into the details of a unique world and society of people, this is definitely the series for you! I loved all of the intricacies we got to see of the city itself and of the inner workings of the secret societies that exist within it (all, of course, with their own plots and purposes).
I still really liked our three main characters. I will admit, I did start to become frustrated when they began to fall into the traps where as a reader you’re just yelling at them to talk to each other a bit and they’d finally understand what was actually going on! But, of course, that would leak out a lot of the tension of the story early on. I was pleased that the author didn’t push this trope past the point of believability, and our characters would catch on to things here and there when they would have had to be supremely obtuse to continue in ignorance. Sadly, I’ve seen stories play out that way before all too often, so it was a relief to see the author
I really enjoyed this book. With its slower pacing and focus on world-building and the smaller, personal stories of our main characters, it may not be for everyone out there, especially not the more plot-focused readers. But I love this type of immersive fantasy story, and I definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy the same!
Rating 8: A slower story firmly rooted in its dedication to building out an intricate world and filling it with complicated, well-rounded characters.
“The Liar’s Knot” isn’t on any Goodreads lists yet, but it should be on “Books with Secret Identities.”
Find “The Liar’s Knot” at your library using WorldCat or at a local independent bookstore using IndieBound!