Book Review | The Knave of Secrets | By Alex Livingston




TheWriteReads Blog Tour | Fantasy

The Knave of Secrets
A twisty tale of card sharps and con artists, in a world of magic where secrets are traded and gambled like coin. The Lies of LockeLamora meets Casino Royale Never stake more than you can afford to lose. When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament. Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war… (Goodreads)  






My thoughts




Narrative and Plot




One of the things I love about reading fantasies is the suspension of disbelief and escaping into this outlandish scenario. The Knave of Secrets wastes no time in luring you into this world of card games with a few card sharps at the centre of a deep conspiracy.
Told from multiple perspectives, the story intricately weaves a web – one that includes politics, espionage and a game of cards amidst all this.
The only thing that I could point out is that for a long time, as a reader, I was confused because of the shifting point of views. About 30% into the story, just when I figure out the main characters and the ones I need to root for, the perspective shifts to a random character. It threw me off balance at first, but once I got the hang of it, it didn’t bother me too much.




Characters and Conflicts




Any story that includes the underdogs is easy to navigate. You root for the band of misfits to win against all the odds. Again, it is fascinating to build a character profile within a fantasy where you find a hook from the real world. Velan and Marguerite’s simple wish or Ten’s plight as a Mistigiri isn’t too farfetched. It is those real0life aspirations of your characters that keep you in that world wanting to see them win.

As the story progresses, the stakes rise, making it impossible for the heroes to win. As they scatter and scramble, it becomes clear that the one thing they can do to move forward is play for their life. That ‘aha moment’ is enough to give you goosebumps.









The Knave of Secrets is a textbook example of how to execute a hero’s journey. It hits every single beat of storytelling and keeps you hooked as if you’re enjoying a game of not cards but chess. There are very few action scenes in this one, but believe me, it is an adventure that keeps you thrilled with just a deck of cards.







About the Author











Disclaimer : I received this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley for TheWriteReads Blog Tour.







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