Review: The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

Loved it! 😍

The Armored Saint is a fast-paced and compelling fantasy. Myke Cole knows just where to hit for the biggest impact and keeps hold right to the end. Fantastic work!

The Armored Saint
by Myke Cole

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.

Synopsis

The Armored Saint follows a village girl named Heloise who is around sixteen years old and not yet considered an adult. She lives with her parents in a small village in a world run by the Order, a group created to ensure no magic or wizards are allowed to live as it is said they will bring devils into the world. The Order is willing to kill as many innocent people as they feel necessary to keep this from happening.

Heloise witnesses a terrible slaughter and turns against the Order, coming to the realization that their way of doing things is wrong. By this time, her rash actions have already put her family, and her village, in danger. This is a face-paced and hard-hitting story, compelling the reader to keep up until right to the end. At just over 60,000 words, I easily read this book in one sitting. (I was also on a plane at the time, so that certainly contributed.)

There are many things I enjoyed about this book, from the characters, to the world building, to the style of writing. This is a well-developed world that promises more as Heloise grows and discovers more of her role in life. I had little expectations going in, knowing only of the existence of Myke Cole’s work as I followed him on Twitter, but not reading any of it until I recently needed a couple books for my flight home from Toronto.

I was pleased to find a story with LGBT themes, particularly one that dealt with them so genuinely. It didn’t feel like it was in this story as an afterthought, or placed there as to appeal to a specific audience. This is how LGBTQ+ characters need to be portrayed: naturally. Heloise isn’t perfect, but she feels real. And that’s what’s important here.

Well done!

There are those who wish to possess love utterly, to own it not just for themselves, but for all. Do you know how they possess it, Heloise? They own it by defining it. They say ‘love is this’ and ‘love is that’ and when others say it is something else, they imprison them, or flog them. Sometimes they kill them. My love was a thing outside the circle they had drawn.

Myke Cole, The Armored Saint

Heloise was annoying at times, simply due to her immaturity and impulsive behavior. That’s not to say it was in any way unrealistic. (Her actions made me want to grab her and redirect her on more than one occasion!) Heloise is young, inexperienced, and passionate. And these three things can get a young lady in trouble if she’s not careful enough. (Spoiler: She wasn’t and… they do.)

The twist at the end was both intriguing and surprising, and stopped in a place that felt “right” for this story. If book two is anything like this one, I expect I’ll enjoy it as well.

I was surprised with how much I appreciated this novel and how quick it was to read, despite being so emotionally heavy. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre, or even someone new to it looking for a place to start. The book is short and makes for a quick read that could easily be finished in one sitting.

I cannot wait to pickup up the next books in the series. Luckily for me, the trilogy is already complete and all I need to do is purchase them when I’m ready. The Queen of Crows and The Killing Light are next on my list of work to read by Myke Cole.

After that, I’m open for recommendations on which of his series to read next. Shadow Ops, or the Rewakening Trilogy? And if Shadow Ops, do I go for publication order or chronological? Ah, decisions!


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