**Please note: I received an advanced reader’s e-copy of this book from the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours as part of my participation in the tour.
In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.
After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit… and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.
Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?
Discover what’s lurking in the shadows in this dark fantasy debut with a murder-mystery twist, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kerri Maniscalco.
Content Warning: various types of violence (shooting, poisoning, beheading), graphic descriptions of blood/bodies, death of parents/ friends/ siblings, a parent depicted with memory loss/confusion, PTSD and flashbacks, descriptions of war, prejudice, religious intolerance, hallucinations, paranoia, alcoholism, and mentions of self-harm.
About the Author:
M. K. Lobb is a fantasy writer with a love of all things dark— be it literature, humour, or general aesthetic. She grew up in small-town Ontario and studied political science at both the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa. She now lives by the lake with her partner and their cats. When not reading or writing, she can be found at the gym or contemplating the harsh realities of existence.
Her debut novel SEVEN FACELESS SAINTS will be published February 7, 2023 by Little, Brown (Hachette). The sequel, DISCIPLES OF CHAOS, will follow in early 2024. M. K. is represented by Claire Friedman at InkWell Management.
First things first, I just need to say: the premise of this book absolutely hooked me. Lobb creates a fascinating world full of saints, disciples, and guilds. Beyond anything, I really appreciated the creativity and thought put into Lobb’s setting. The idea of seven saints and their disciples ruling with unjust power and the gradual dismantling of the corrupt system is honestly one of the most interesting and unique hooks I’ve heard in a while.
I almost see this story as part mystery, part fantasy. Lobb takes us on a journey to find a murderer stalking the underbelly of the city while a deeper undertone of rebellion simmers in the shadows. I appreciated the complexity and twists that Lobb created, creating an addicting ride that made it hard to put down the book.
That being said, I did feel a slight disconnect between the writing and the idea. It’s very clear that Lobb is passionate about the world that she has created and understands it deeply, but the translation onto the pages felt a bit confusing at times. Lobb throws a lot at you, and it did feel at times that she was trying to tackle too many topics and themes at the same time.
There’s also the romance element embedded throughout the novel, focusing on this past-best friends-to-lovers-to enemies trope as Roz and Damien are forced together to investigate the recent murders. I won’t deny that enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and I highly enjoyed this one
(a stabby heroine + a soft boy). But I also understand that this trope is heavily used in YA, and there wasn’t anything necessarily new to bring to the table in this case.
That being said, Lobb did create a fascinating world. I personally just found the execution to be a bit lacking, but color me intrigued on the future books that Lobb will release as she refines her skills.
Please also see the other amazing tour stops at this official TBR and Beyond Tours schedule with Seven Faceless Saints Tour! There’s some incredible bloggers who made great posts about this book.