Book Review: Skullsworn by Brian Staveley (Four Stars)


Book Review: Skullsworn (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 0.5) by Brian Staveley

Four Stars

“I couldn’t see inside their heads. I could barely make out what was going on inside my own.”

Don’t let the numerical designation fool you, this is a complete novel, not a short story. Despite expectations triggered by the title, a worthwhile novel about life.

“We are all dying, all the time. Being born is stepping from the cliff’s edge. The only question is what to do while falling.”

An action-adventure fantasy with all the blood and gore expected of the genre, but also an investigation into life, love, death and dying. Deep first-person perspective. Chock full of epigrams.

Love’s “a goddess, and that makes her a tyrant no matter what anyone tells you.”

Staveley’s modern vocabulary–infrastructure, causeway, scrum–often knocks the reader out of the Dark Ages feel of the story. (Also, what Staveley calls a causeway in this story is actually a viaduct, with causeway usually designating a consolidated earthwork, not a long bridge.)

“Our bodies go. Then our minds. Failure is what it means to be mortal.”