the cover for The Bladed Faith by David Dalglish
  • STAR RATING:  2.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 512 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: April 5, 2022
  • PUBLISHER: Orbit
  • WHAT SERIES? The Vagrant Gods
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Bladed Faith
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Unknown, but there’s two right now.
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Violence, Homophobia, Child death (not on page, but you do see a body)
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan, and for some reason this one is reminding me of The Licanius Trilogy by James Islington


A usurped prince prepares to take up the mantle of a deadly assassin and reclaim his kingdom, his people, and his slain gods in this epic fantasy from a USA Today bestselling author.

Cyrus was only twelve years old when his gods were slain, his country invaded, and his parents—the king and queen—beheaded in front of him. Held prisoner in the invader’s court for years, Cyrus is suddenly given a chance to escape and claim his revenge when a mysterious group of revolutionaries comes looking for a figurehead. They need a hero to strike fear into the hearts of the imperial and to inspire and unite the people. They need someone to take up the skull mask and swords and to become the legendary “Vagrant”—an unparalleled hero and assassin of otherworldly skill. 

But all is not as it seems. Creating the illusion of a hero is the work of many, and Cyrus will soon discover the true price of his vengeance. 

Ugh. I am so disappointed by The Bladed Faith. I wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did. Orbit, you let me down this time, and you rarely rarely ever do. Now, this might have been the case of this book being hyped up too much and me building it up in my head, but uh wow did this one just not resonate with me at all. The Bladed Faith felt very much like your stereotypical ‘chosen one’ needs to mete out vengeance after someone they love is killed kinda story. There was very little that stood out to me as original — though the singular thing that did stand out was very nice indeed. Of the characters, only the main one was a straight white male. Literally almost all the ‘good’ characters that were on page a bunch were either POC, queer, or both. Needless to say, that was refreshing! However, I’m not rating a book five stars simply because of it’s representation.

My biggest beef, I think, is that the story itself wasn’t that interesting. Cyrus is the sole living heir to a kingdom after an empire comes and conquers it. The empire kills his parents in front of him, and then he is led down the path to vengeance. There are god characters, but they are killed almost immediately. Cyrus becomes amazing at fighting after three years of training, and is turned into a sort of vigilante. He’s only nineteen when the real beefy part of the novel starts. He’s out there beating full grown adults in fights. I just was not interested. Maybe I read this at the wrong time? Maybe this book was never for me. Who knows, but overall, I found myself sort of dreading picking up the book again. I forced myself to continue because one, I did want to know how it wrapped up, and two, I wanted to see if it got any better. It sort of? Gets better? There’s a huge betrayal at the end that was interesting, but other than that it just sort of felt typical.

Perhaps I would have been more interested in this if the main character had been literally anything other than a teenaged straight white male. Mari and Stasia, the sisters who help train Cyrus, were infinitely cooler than him, and they’re only side characters. Despite having a decently well-rounded cast, The Bladed Faith felt extremely male to me. (Male power fantasy? I guess, is what I mean? Only the young white guy can save an entire kingdom from an empire!!!) This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that fantasy as a genre is overwhelmed with. I sadly (and quite obviously) was not impressed with this one. Two and a half stars.

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  1. Ah, this one is still sitting on my shelf from last year. Dalglish’s writing just doesn’t really click with me – I don’t hate the books, I just end up feeling meh about them.

    Liked by 1 person

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