I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Series: Rook & Rose #2
Published: December 2021
Trust is the thread that binds us . . . and the rope that hangs us.
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…
I started the year reading the first instalment in the Rook & Rose trilogy, The Mask of Mirrors, so in a way, it was only fitting that I should come full circle and end the year with its newly released second book, The Liar’s Knot.
I had really enjoyed the first book, so my expectations were very high for the second one, even though I was a bit worried about a possible case of “middle book syndrome”. But as it turns out, I worried for nothing and my expectations were not only fully met, but exceeded by this amazing book!
The Liar’s Knot picks up soon after the events of the first book, as everyone struggles to come to terms with what happened and the consequences of that for Nadezra as a whole. There is an impressive amount of secrets going around, and I absolutely loved seeing how the various characters interacted, knowing who was hiding what from whom. What could have easily become an overly complex mess is handled extremely well, with never a moment of confusion (for me at least; there were plenty of those for the characters…) and it’s not dragged along any longer than it needs to be.
Because of the high-level duplicitousness in this book, it’s extremely easy to accidentally venture into spoiler territory, so I won’t go into a lot of detail. Suffice it to say that everything I had enjoyed in the previous book, I absolutely adored in this one.
The characters were fantastic, so complex and fleshed out it was an absolute joy to spend time with them. The cast is big and I still had some difficulty keeping some of the minor characters straight in my head, but I had no trouble at all following the main group. Ren and Vargo confirmed themselves as my absolute faves, but I loved everyone else too, especially some of the newer characters that didn’t get quite as much airtime in the first books. The relationships really get room to breathe in this book, and it was a delight to read. The banter between the Rook and the Rose was stellar, and I couldn’t get enough of that between Vargo and his spider either!
The worldbuilding is also amazing, complex yet explained in a way that makes it easy to follow and understand. I did struggle with some of the words (which I had almost completely forgotten from the first book), but thankfully I remembered to look for the glossary this time, so that particular crisis was averted! There were plenty of moments for learning and reflection throughout, and I really enjoyed how this book took its time to develop those aspects and the magic system further instead of blindly rushing ahead with the plot.
There were still enough adventure, intrigue, and swashbuckling to keep things moving, including a curse and a secret cult as well as your run-of-the-mill con artistry, criminality, and vigilantism. Oh, and let’s not forget masked balls and AMAZING fashion!
The Liar’s Knot had everything I dreamed of for the second book in the series, and more! Somehow, it managed to be even more amazing than the first and an all-round fantastic second book. I can’t believe I have to wait so long for the next one, but I can’t wait to see what comes next!