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Read the full review: Jan 16, Stretch's Books rated it really liked it Shelves: It has been at least a year since I read "The Emperor's Knife", and I found it a little difficult to catch up with what was going on in "Knife Sworn". However, after around 50 pages or so things begin to come back to me, and I found that I had become really immersed in Mazarkis Williams' world again.

Believe me when I say this is not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all. While I was disappointed that some of the character viewpoints from the "The Emperor's Knife" did not make into "Knife" sworn, It has been at least a year since I read "The Emperor's Knife", and I found it a little difficult to catch up with what was going on in "Knife Sworn".


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While I was disappointed that some of the character viewpoints from the "The Emperor's Knife" did not make into "Knife" sworn, I don't think that it really detracted much from the book. The book still contained plenty of action, political intrigue, deep character relationships and a unique magic system. All things that when put together correctly make up a very solid 3.

Williams does quite well at avoiding the "sophomore slump" with "Knife Sworn". However, at times I found myself having to go back a paragraph or three to figure out what was taking place. The arcane system at times just confused me a little, and I would have to say to myself "What in the world is going on here? Minor I know, but still worth mentioning. The deep complex characters and their relationships with each other is where I think Maz really shines. There is an interesting dynamic between Sarmin, Mesema and Nessaket.

I also found the relationship between Sarmin and Grada to be very interesting as well. With excellent action sequences and deep intrigue Mazarkis Williams has crafted a very well written second effort. I recommend giving "The Tower and Knife" trilogy an opportunity. Of course if you are new to the series you will want to read "The Emperor's Knife" before trying to jump into "Knife Sworn", but if you enjoyed "The Emperor's Knife" then you will find "Knife Sworn" to be right up your alley. Jul 20, Karen rated it really liked it.

This is the second book in the Tower and Knife Trilogy. I got this book as a Goodreads giveaway. The book starts where book one left off, the Pattern Master is defeated and Sarmin has become Emperor. But all is not well in the Empire. Although the Pattern Master has been defeated the consequences of his curse remain. Sarmin must find a way to heal his Empire before he can bring it the peace he desires.

And with no Knife to call he may not be able to reach his goal. I received the first book in th This is the second book in the Tower and Knife Trilogy. I received the first book in the series as a Barnes and Noble Free Friday book. And I go the second book as a Goodreads giveaway.

I liked them both so much that now I will need to go buy the third book to see how it all ends! Oct 16, PopcornReads rated it really liked it Shelves: Read the rest of my review at http: Jul 05, Jude Morrissey rated it it was amazing Shelves: Like the first of the series, Knife Sworn was good fantasy, laced with political intrigue. I wondered how Williams would make the stories flow together, as the first novel wrapped up so nicely - she made it not only work, but work beautifully.

I can't wait to read the third novel! Jun 03, Nathan Washor rated it it was amazing. Mazarkis evokes an original tale in Knife Sworn. Characters are deep and complex. The world is filled with mysterious arcana that must be understood to save it from nullification. The writing is enchanting. Buy this book and enjoy! More review to come, but I am on a deadline at work Apr 14, Michelle marked it as to-read Shelves: This will be great. I'm excited and can't wait to read it. View all 4 comments. Jun 23, Jasper rated it really liked it Shelves: Last year when I got introduced to the line up of books from Jo Fletcher many titles had caught my attention and one of them was The Emperor's Knife by Mazarkis Williams.

I am always a sucker when it comes down to an epic fantasy story that features magic, sword fighting, political intrigues and of course assassins. The story and the world that Mazarkis Williams started to build had some very cool idea's and the influences, middle eas originally posted at: The story and the world that Mazarkis Williams started to build had some very cool idea's and the influences, middle eastern, Arabian thousand and one nights really made it stand out from the rest.

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Furthermore he left his story of The Emperor's Knife on one major cliffhanger! The first thing that felt to note here was that the tone of the story is slightly different than to what you were introduced to in the first book of the Tower and Knife Trilogy. In the first book we were introduced to the only surviving brother of the Emperor, Sarmin and to many other perspectives, but in the end Sarmin took to the Emperor's seat and became the new ruling voice, it is thus by these events that the book focuses on the all the courtly dealings that now accompanies Sarmin's new task.

That of ruling the Cerani empire. This type of change does remind of the one that Jay Posey introduced in his series, first writing a action packed an brutal start but then delving deeper and deeper into the world and story itself and though for some readers this might come as a shock if you just sit back and take it all in it does definitely inspire a feeling of grandness to the story. And this is also why I am pleased that Mazarkis Williams went into this direction, because besides the building Sarmin's character further, he doesn't at all skip out on the action, it might be present in a less pronounced way but it is still there and just a word up front, an emperor needs a knife Ok so for the story.

Sarmin has taken up on the throne of the Cerani empire, after finally being freed from his years of imprisonment. In the first book he was given a wife, Mesema and she has given Sarmin a young boy and heir to the throne. However to make things complicated, the mother of Sarmin, Nessaket has also given birth to a young boy, this raises the question as to who should be emperor. This coincidence raises some deadly stakes for Sarmin and his new family However the job of an Emperor isn't only to mingle into family affairs, the predecessors of Sarmin had started many fights in order to expand the Cerani empire and this is one job that also falls onto Sarmin's lap, he has to deal both with the birth of his own son and that of his mother as well as waging war and everything that is accompanied by this.

Added to this are his own personal "problems" he is receiving flashbacks and is hearing voices in his head besides his own The main focus of the story is on Sarmin and his dealings as new emperor but Mazarkis Williams also shows different sides of the story by several secondary characters: Grada, Nessaket and Rushes. Grada was also a character who was introduced in the first book and she had and still has a strong bond with Sarmin, in Knife Sworn their relation continues in a most precarious kind of way, on one hand Sarmin is strongly drawn to Mesema but on the other one he can't seem to forget Grada.

Nessaket is one perspective that dots the i's when it comes down to playing dirty. Though we had already seen some of her character in the first book she now takes on a much more pronounced role and you see her planning and scheming about for the faith of her own born son.

I can't really say that Nessaket is the evil person in the story but her character is one that has a high maternal instinct when it comes down to letting her son survive and with Mazarkis Williams laying such an emphasis on showing just what her character thinks and how she acts really helped to flesh her fully and t definitely mark her out as being dangerous. One aspect that I was very pleased about was the whole development given to Sarmin's character. If you have read the first book you know that he was imprisoned for many years and that he due to specific circumstances rose up to claim the Emperors throne.

However this shift from being imprisoned to being the strongest or better phrased powerful persons in the world isn't one that you can do in the blink of an eye and this is exactly what Mazarkis Williams shows in Knife Sworn. You can clearly see that the years of Sarmin's imprisonment has changed his point of view on several levels and he really wants to see the better in every person he meets but unfortunately this simply is impossible and this strains him.

He even appoints a new Emperor's Knife in the hope that he never has to use it during the time of his reign he would rather try to solve everything by talking and discussing instead of drawing blood. But blood had to be drawn by his predecessors to make the Cerani empire what it is Will Sarmin has to resort to this as well?

Great character development and this promises a lot for the third and final book in the Tower and Knife Trilogy. It's one that comes over as rock solid and very confident. With this he writes directly to the point, keeping the pacing and action in the book pretty tight. However this doesn't in anyway mean that there is a comprise being made between pacing and building the world of the Tower and Knife trilogy. It is precisely by this type of writing that Mazarkis Williams embodies so much more surrounding his world, he paints some very detailed surrounding in his story that if the setting weren't that grim and bleak would definitely invite you to spend your Thousand and one night adventure in!

The ending of Knife Sworn does allow you to guess just what Mazarkis WIlliams might want to show in the third book of the Tower and Knife Trilogy, Tower Broken, but I also had an assumption about how Knife Sworn would go but was wrong on that front. What Mazarkis Williams has shown is that you will be in for a surprise! Knife Sworn is just a book that the Tower and Knife Trilogy needs.

With The Emperor's Knife Mazarkis Williams gave a solid introduction into his world and just what kind of story he wanted to see, with the sequel, Knife Sworn, Mazarkis Williams goes into a quite a different direction but one that works in many ways to take his story further. It's not one that focuses heavily on the sword and sorcery aspect but one that cleverly builds on the court politics and intrigues that accompany the rise of the new emperor Sarmin. I for one was very pleased to have seen such a developments for many of the characters and in particular Sarmin.

This taken all together can mean only one thing. Tower Broken will be one epic conclusion! As such it had a tall order in front of it; it had to live up to the first book and keep the narrative going so there will be a strong draw back for the third book.

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And of course, it has to avoid middle-book-syndrome. And people wonder why writing that second book is harder than writing the first! So you'll be glad to know that Knife Sworn did the first and the second and was relatively successful at avoiding the last. I was quite pleased with how Williams continued the story after the relatively self-contained The Emperor's Knife and the book's ending definitely left me eager to start the final book.

However, while it wasn't less action-packed, slower-paced or only a bridge between book one and book three, Knife Sworn certainly doesn't stand on its own; one could read it without having read the first book, but you'd miss a lot of background and the story doesn't have as satisfying an ending as The Emperor's Knife. Still, Knife Sworn is a very enjoyable read and shows Williams' growth as an author quite well. The book features different points of view than the previous one. Sarmin makes a return, and we get new viewpoints from Grada, Rushes and Nessaket. Which means this time we get three women and one man, whereas last time it was one woman and three men.

I do have to say I missed Mesema's point of view in this book, as I'd come to care for her and I was sad to only see her at a remove in this book. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Rushes' and Grada's story arcs and I appreciated getting to know Nessaket better and seeing what makes her tick. All of the point of view characters are unreliable in some way as well, which made the narration of the novel even more interesting as you had to keep reading closely.

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I really liked Rushes, as she's an interesting character and she provides an informative view not just of the lower classes in the palace, but also more insight into the Mogryk faith. Sarmin's development from the imprisoned prince in the tower to a ruling emperor is a rough road and quite fascinating, especially with the pattern magic factored in. However, my favourite arc in the book was Grada's. I loved the way she has to learn to live with what she has done as part of the Many and what that experience has made of her.

She essentially has to remake herself, find her own identity again by incorporating all that's been added to her by the Patterning.


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It's a hard lesson to learn, but I found it quite moving and I really enjoyed Grada's voice as well. Ostensibly Knife Sworn is about Sarmin dealing with the Nothing, an unexpected after-effect of the Pattern Master's final pattern, a mysterious force that is one of unmaking and negation. But it is also about remaking; not just that which has been destroyed by the Nothing, but identity, self, peace, a nation, and people's lives. I found Williams' incorporation of The Longing of the Unpatterned, those who Sarmin cured of the Patterning and returned from the Many to themselves haunting.

The sense of loss these people experienced and the loneliness Grada and Rushes feel is heart-breaking and you'd almost wonder whether Sarmin shouldn't have found a way to make them better while still being able to connect to the Many. Especially Rushes' story shows us why Sarmin was right in what he did and Rushes' realisation of this was quite bitter-sweet.

Knife Sworn was the sequel The Emperor's Knife deserved and in many ways was even better. The book felt better paced and the writing was far more certain and unflinching. There are some beautiful and gruesome scenes in here and Williams almost gave me a heart attack with a few of the developments. I found this quite an exciting read and I can't wait to start The Tower Broken , the concluding book of the trilogy, which is what I'll be doing once this review is up. A review for the final book will be up in the near future.

This book was provided for review by the publisher. Once again, I find myself having divided opinions.

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In some ways, it might even have been better if it had been. But alas, the author decided to make a trilogy of the story begun in that first book. While I am beyond excited at getter to know the amazing universe better, I do think that this sequel starts rather heavily dealing with the aftermaths of a finished story. It makes it a little tough to really get into it. But once you are i Once again, I find myself having divided opinions. But once you are in the middle of it, you do get caught up in the entanglements and twists of the plot.

But still it kept my attention and built its own painfully slow suspense toward the end. It is a story of strong elements. Mazarkis Williams has a brilliant flair for shaping the language into the most beautifully poetic prose. She has really managed to create her own distinctive voice as a narrator — a quality I admire greatly in an author.

There is no generic use of language in her books. Even when the story is slow, it is never boring to read. The story is slow in Knife Sworn. Strong Characters under Development: One point at which Mazarkis Williams seem to do better in this sequel is the characters. In my review I asked for more depth, and I am happy to report that in Knife Sworn I am beginning to really feel some of the characters.

I love the fact that none of her characters are perfect, they each have their problems they need to overcome. They come across as very human and fallible. And they have really grown a lot since the events of the first book - and the author seems to have grown with them. Her characterisations and development seem to be a little more refined in Knife Sworn. I cannot wait to see how these characters will evolve through the third book.

A Plot of Mysteries and Secrets: The plot of this book seems a lot more subtle than the one in the first book. Much bigger and more mysterious events lie in wait to threaten the empire. In Knife Sworn we only get little hints and suggestions at what might come to pass. The reader is trapped in a world full of half-revealed mysteries and ancient secrets. That is the part that left me breathless and expectant after all the pages had been touched and turned. And I must admit that I am itching to get my hands on the last book of the trilogy so I can see the hammer fall already.

A Magical Ever-Expanding Universe: What I love most about this series is still the universe. In Knife Sworn Marzarkis Williams slowly expands our view of the world. She still only shows us bits and pieces here and there, making us wonder. Knife Sworn definitely leaves the reader eager to pick up the next in the series. It has its strengths and its weaknesses but at the end, it is a very interesting read. The Tower and Knife trilogy is definitely still a strong fantasy series, which I would recommend any day.

This book was given to me by Jo Fletcher Books in exhcange for this review. More High Fantasy reviews by hypervorean at Numinous Publications Jul 02, Josh rated it liked it. Review from Fixed on Fantasy. What was frustrating earlier on quickly became a highlight for me in this novel - it was confusing as all hell.

There's a lot to say about reading a story through the experience and perception of protagonists that are probably a little unhinged. As readers we take their word as gospel truth, especially after being privy to their intern Review from Fixed on Fantasy. As readers we take their word as gospel truth, especially after being privy to their internal dialogue. But when that view is limited, so too is ours, sometimes without us realising it.

Emperor Sarmin, affected by his closeted upbringing and now left with the aftershocks of being one of the Many as well as trying to rule Cerana, is not having a great time. There are gaps in his logic and memory, and we are swept into it without so much as a paddle, let alone a life raft. Grada is also one very strange individual, who the pressure has obviously gotten to. The first third of the book leaves you struggling to keep up, giving you only snatches of information and certainly no solid ground to get your bearings. Characters such as as Nessaket and Rushes give us enough reprieve to get a semblance of a story together, but Sarmin remains thoroughly batty until the end.

The magic and religion layered into the story are never explicitly explained or handed over to reason, although I found it easy in the end to roll along with the complex mystery of it all. I did find that in comparison with book one, Knife Sworn feels like it was written by a different author, such is the change in tone and direction. Not even the characters feel the same.

Even though the blurb claims that the book is the story of Sarmin and Mesema and focuses on Sarmin's decision to name a new Knife Sworn, this is hardly the case. Mesema has been relegated to the role of bedside table, which is a real shame as she was a great presence in The Emperor's Knife. Sarmin and Mesema's relationship which seems to strong at the end of book one now seems almost non-existent.

And on the matter of the Knife Sworn Knife Sworn for me just felt like a watered-down version of The Emperor's Knife. Sarmin is once again faced with a new magical plague, tenuously linked to the Patterning.


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There's a half-hearted attempt at some political undertakings, but they really just die in the rear. What it ultimately feels like is that The Emperor's Knife was a story in itself, and that Knife Sworn is just left to find a sequel amongst the pieces, after most of the good characters have been killed off. The ending did have potential, but was extremely rushed and fell flat.

Honestly I don't really know how I feel about it all. It was truly a complex, mature and enjoyable read, and I was particularly drawn to the world that Williams created Nevertheless, still an interesting read if you like high fantasy with a strong signatory world and magic system. Book three, The Tower Broken , comes out this November - still on my to be read list! Sep 11, Cindy rated it really liked it. The book got off to a rather slow start, with a lot of random scenes describing the aftermath of the destruction of the Pattern and the Pattern Master on the people and on Sarmin.

We meet the two new additions to the imperial family and there are some new mysteries introduced, this all mixed with a background of military, political and religious tactics. It took a while for the story to get a grip on me. In the first book I never really had a connection with the story, though it fascinated me. I don't know what changed, but there was some sort off click that made me immerse myself in the story. It was much easier to keep reading and to feel emotions while reading some of the chapters.

Especially the chapter where Sarmin sees the memory of Gallan and how that ended really touched me. The unfairness of it all, the cruelty left a deep impression on me. Knife Sworn is, just as its predecessor, an intriguing and fascinating book. The author resolved the problem of the pattern at the end of the first book, but not all is well in Nooria. First all were connected with each other through the pattern, sharing grievances, pain and joy alike, but now everyone's abruptly alone again. This loneliness haunts the citizens of Nooria and it is referred to as "the Longing".

People take drastic measures to escape this longing suicide, drugs, But is there truth in this promise? And with people desperate for a new connection with their fellow Unpatterned, is there any way to stop it when there's something darker beneath the smooth words of the Mogyrk priests? To top it off, The Longing is not all the Pattern has left behind.

At each anchorpoint used by Helmar for his Pattern, a nothingness is consuming everything in its path. What is it, and can it be stopped? Lots of intrigue and mystery in this second book of the Tower and Knife series, just how I like it. And this time I did connect with some of the characters. Williams gave more dimension to her characters, showing sides that were hidden in the first book and created more depth. The author sets yet again a scorching pace, with twists and turns every few pages, throwing obstacles on our character's paths and introducing questions that trouble character as well as reader.

Though in the first book the pacing was a bit too fast to my liking, I had no problem with it this time. Jan 02, T. Munro rated it it was amazing. Not just the first book I've finished in , but the first fantasy book I've finished in a while. I had been struggling my way through books by two different writers. Such towering figures within the genre that my travails of readership left me wondering "is it me?

I Not just the first book I've finished in , but the first fantasy book I've finished in a while. In the Emperor's Knife I had been intriged by the world Mazarkis had imagined - a Cerani Empire built on rigid hierarchies and the most absolute of absolute monarchies. It had at once the air of mystery bound by threads so familiar they felt like strands of our own history.

In Knifesworn the world building is complete from a reader's perspective and the story plunges abruptly into themes of world destruction as the Emperor Sarmin finds threats of every kind assail him from without and from within to the point where even the one person he should be most sure of turns out to be the one most likely to betray him. The theme of "the pattern" from the Emperor's knife is revisited and developed.

I liked the idea that there had been a kind of value in the way that the pattern bound people together in a collaborative entity which leaves some survivors bereft and lonely. It put me in mind of my dim grasp of William Blake's railing against the imprisonment of man in the mental prison of his own individuality sampling the world through five imperfect senses. The magic and the mystery are not laboured; Mazarkis Williams offers no lectures on her world's systems, no disconcerting authorial asides to the reader. It is a story that you experience through the eyes and ears of its protaganists seeing and feeling only what they do.

You are swept along the narrative river and sometimes you might wonder at some feature that has flown by, but all the threads converge at the end. Nov 26, Holly rated it really liked it. The Pattern-Master has been defeated.

PHOTO GALLERY: New American Citizens Sworn In

Sarmin now reigns as emperor of Cerana, with Mesema by his side. Together they will raise Mesema's son, secretly fathered by Beyon, Sarmin's brother. But all is not well in Cerana. The Many, now free of the Puzzle-Master's taint, are feeling lost, and the Longing drives some to suicide and others to a foreign religion. New citizens, including Gavin Octito Blair, right, take their oath to officially become Americans during a naturalization ceremony Monday at the University of Toledo's College of Law. Zahrieh Bachlah, originally from Syria, center, shakes hands with Gavin Octito Blair, originally from Jamaica, right, after the pair became American citizens during a naturalization ceremony Monday at the University of Toledo's College of Law.

Amal Al Terkomani, originally from Syria, right, raises her hand to take the Oath of Citizenship and become an official American during a naturalization ceremony Monday at the University of Toledo's College of Law. Lynn Therese Masson, originally from Canada, wipes a tear away after become an American citizen during a naturalization ceremony Monday at the University of Toledo's College of Law.

Mohamed Attia El Nemr, originally from Egypt, center, is congratulated on becoming and American citizen during a naturalization ceremony Monday at the University of Toledo's College of Law. Gideon Vanbrabant, center, holds his daughter Sophia, 5, after he became an American citizen during a naturalization ceremony Monday at the University of Toledo's College of Law. Mohamed Attia El Nemr, center, smiles after taking the oath of citizenship to become an official American during a naturalization ceremony Monday at the University of Toledo's College of Law.

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