We Lie With Death (The Reborn Empire #2) by Devin Madson

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Even Better Than the First

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Seriously, I had a really good time reading this one, it’s the sort of book that makes me feel happy to be reading fantasy and I am just overawed at the way the author has brought this story on.  Compared to We Ride the Storm, We Lie With Death is much more character focused.  That’s not to say that this is the calm after the Storm but where book 1 was all about the brewing storm and the eventual clashing of swords this is more the contemplation of the aftermath,where swords may not be clashing on the battlefield but the blades are still out and it’s absolutely fascinating to watch these characters as they try to come to terms with the fallout and what it all really means.  

I’m not going to discuss the plot here because I think that would take us down the road of spoilers.  Instead this will be a recap of a few of the characters and their struggles as the story progresses.

Cassandra, Dishiva, Rah, Miko.  We follow four characters in We Lie with Death which is surely enough for everyone to find a favourite.  I can say with absolute certainty that I enjoyed all of them – I’m not saying they were equals so much as making the point that there was no sigh of disappointment when I left a favourite pov to read on from another less liked one.  If I was forced to choose between them I would probably choose Rah because I love his story arc here but then if you asked me tomorrow I might say Cassandra and then again a different answer the following day.

So, Rah.  Levanti warrior.  Keen to protect the traditions of his people.  Refuses to bend the knee to the knew Emperor Gideon and is forced into exile.  What we learn as we follow in his footsteps is that Rah is a little lost.  Does he return home?  A home that was already starting to change? Or does he adapt.  His own storyline takes a most interesting turn that eventually leads him to reconsider things.  He discovers the importance of languages and communication and this leads him to some reevaluation.  

Cassandra is also on a journey of self discovery with some startling revelations.  This is a character where the reader gets two for one, Cassandra usually has another soul on board and her storyline is always entertaining, darkly funny and takes us in the strangest direction.  Seriously, this pov is fascinating, entertaining and pretty much jaw dropping.

Dishiva is a new pov, she appeared in the first book but this time around she has her own chapters.  She protects Gideon and is fiercely loyal.  The edition of this storyline is clearly a means of keeping tabs on what’s taking place in Gideon’s new empire but it is nonetheless a really great addition.  Dishiva’s main dilemma really boils down to protecting Gideon from himself.  

Finally Miko, she feels a little more vulnerable in this book but still remains a strong character.  I was pleasantly surprised at the turn her story takes and I’m very keen to see how this storyline plays out but I can’t really say too much about it without letting the cat out of the bag (for the avoidance of doubt no cats were put into bags during the writing of this review).

I’m going to keep this review fairly short and sweet.  For me, this book surpassed the first.  It’s clever, nuanced, well written, it has great pace and I never had a dull moment.  There are some moments of dark humour that offset the grim reality of events and we also get to travel around this fascinating world that Madson has created.  Without doubt though, the characters steal the show here.  It’s not just that their storylines are full of intrigue and revelations – it’s more the way they’re changing and growing themselves.  There’s a lot of subtle realisations taking place.  Sometimes change is necessary to move forward and meeting in the middle, learning about each other’s differences and adapting is the first step to discovering new possibilities.

I loved it

Finally, I bought the audio copy for this one so that I could part read/part listen and wow – the audio is brilliant.  I highly recommend it and I feel like I’m going to have to await the audio version so that I can read in a similar style for book 3.

Also – I cannot resist – check out these three covers.  They are simply amazing

My rating 5*

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.