1. 10 & 9 Star Rating Book Review

We Lie with Death – Devin Madson

The Reborn Empire 2

“When you’ve lived out of the world as long as I have you realize how foolish such things as titles and gold are. You begin to measure wealth in knowledge and respect instead.”

So what’s the book about?

In Kisia’s conquered north, a new empire is born, the Empire of Levanti. The Levanti are broken within. On the one hand, Dishiva is loyal to the new emperor, trying to remain true to herself and the values of the people, and yet she must also bow to new construction of life. But Rah refuses to bow to the new principles and must choose between himself and his people. The former empress Miko Ts’ai, is on the run and is looking for new allies to fight for her people and her right. But while searching for allies, she becomes more and more desperate, and allies herself with a former enemy. Meanwhile, former assassin Cassandra is transported by the Witchdoctor into the body of Miko’s mother, Hana, and the two embark on a mission of their own. And then there’s the enigmatic Dom Leo Villius, who seems to have connections to every player in the heated political chess game playing out in the war-torn country. There is no calm after the storm.

These aspects attracted me the most while reading.

  • I was finally back with my favorite characters! Never before have I experienced such genuine characters that seemed so real, that I could totally get into this world just through the characters. At the same time, each character is messed up, scared, struggling with themselves and terribly frustrated, but because of that it was all the more enjoyable to see these characters again. Each character’s story was life-changing and there was also a big revelation for each character. In particular, there was quite a bit of excitement and heartbreak to be seen with some characters that I actually didn’t expect much from. With Rah, I didn’t expect his story to lead where it did. There were so many heartbreaking moments with him and we could even expect a few tender ones. Through it all, Rah stays true to himself, always torn between his principles and honor and the situations he faces where he can’t make a right choice. Miko who is my favorite female character was great as you would expect. Yes, she always has low points in her life, but she doesn’t give up, she stays strong, fights for her values and for her country. At times, the outwardly strong woman seemed so vulnerable that you could again notice her still young age.  The new PoV-character Dishiva is also introduced in this book, and she is our main window into what is happening with the Levanti army, continuing to add to the complexity of the story.  Each character story makes your heart bleed.
  • The effects of the war makes the characters seem even more depressed. The characters have had to crawl through the chaos previously left behind in the war due to circumstances and often due to their own decisions, in order for everything to turn back to good. Also, the true plans and loyalties of their leaders or themselves are questioned by the various characters, which is why the war had to have many fundamental debates with themselves. There is much more intrigue, which makes the doubts in the characters arise even more. The focus on the political realms is much stronger, which of course appealed to me as a fan of political stories. The storm between hope and hopelessness becomes stronger and stronger, making the outcome of the war seem even more drastic, and you don’t know who will remain loyal to their leader until the end. 
  • A character I didn’t know what the story was about in the first volume has now become my favorite! Cassandra! Even though she still doesn’t quite fit into the whole story in a rounded way, maybe that’s exactly why it was exciting to read her – You break out of the intrigue and enter a mysterious and partly magical world. Finally we learn more about Cassandra, about the witchdoctor and about all the other side characters. I could much more realize the magic behind it, the motivations of the witchdoctor and also one could more understand Cassandra. Yes this place where most of Cassandra’s story takes place is so atmospheric, so mysterious and shady and that coupled with the characters having the same characteristics as the place makes for a unique atmosphere. Also that Cassandra spends so much time with the former Empress Hana that the two somehow bond, even though there is so much bad blood between the two. They show each other respect, but they don’t trust the other as much. I think that Cassandra will play a very important and essential role in the next book and only slowly build her up as a role. And I must say that Cassandra could just completely captivate me and she was my highlight!

The Second.

I enjoyed the first, as well as the second. The first book had more action in it, with the war, and now it’s more about the effects of that. The second book had more focus on the intrigue and the political realms – And who knows me knows that I just love this kind of stories. The little action coupled with the great characters, with the different complex paths the characters go down, as well as the fear of the characters, make this book great for me. That being said, I can’t say that I liked the second book or the first book better. Since both build on each other so much and this story has to be taken as a whole, it just makes both books shine! Simply wow!

So what are my final thoughts about it?

This book is a masterpiece where the author knows how to keep a story exciting and she knows exactly when to break the story with another heartbreaking action. The book takes you through a roller coaster of emotions, alternating between screams of joy, howls, or tantrums! The characters were able to come across much better in this book, as this book didn’t focus on the action, but rather on the individual fears and hopes of the characters. The underlying themes of one’s identity and underlying principles, with the characters trying to find their own way, only makes the characters seem more real. Even after you put the book aside, you can’t stop thinking about this story, empathizing with the characters, or thinking about how it might continue in the next book. The storyline about Cassandra about the souls and the issues that go with it, gave this book so much more depth. This book is one of my favorites and always makes my heart beat faster – be it because of hope, anger or sadness. 

My Rating

Rating: 10 out of 10.

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4 comments on “We Lie with Death – Devin Madson

  1. Great Review!


  2. Great you enjoyed the second book as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: We Ride the Storm – Devin Madson – The Reading Stray

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