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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
A Sanctum of Swords is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy, adventure, and interpersonal drama subgenres, and it forms part of The Embers of the Past Series. The work is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Penned by author John Malone, the world of Thearus is rebuilding after a cataclysmic event that claimed the lives of both mortals and deities. It's the Ascension of Kings era, marked by the rise of kingdoms, cults, and demi-gods. However, an ancient evil force, embodied by the Sanctum Queen Karayan, aims to summon the Twin Deities of the Void, threatening to cast darkness and chaos across the realm. A group of nine unlikely heroes stands as the last line of defense against impending malevolence, facing war, assassination, and betrayal.
Author John Malone has crafted an atmospheric and immersive journey into a world of mythical reconstruction and impending doom. This tale of complex characters, divine conflict, and moral choices is led by a strong ensemble cast with distinct and often conflicting personalities, and it was intriguing to see the time and care that went into exploring their individual journeys as well as the collective quest. The intricate world-building and rich narrative kept me engrossed, with fantastic little details about the culture and attitude of the world that enhanced the realism by informing the characters’ actions and feelings convincingly. The heroes' struggle against the impending threat adds suspense and depth at every turn of a well-paced and smoothly-flowing plot. Malone's storytelling prowess shines from cover to cover without a dull moment, leaving readers eager for the heroes' fate in the face of an encroaching darkness. Overall, I would highly recommend A Sanctum of Swords to fans of dramatic, high-stakes fantasy reads everywhere, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the series has in store for us.