Title: The Black Hawks
Series: Articles of Faith #1
Release Date: 3/10/19
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 51
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Harper Voyager, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Dark, thrilling, and hilarious, The Black Hawks is an epic adventure perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.
Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.
When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.
All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.
With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.
Prepare to join the Black Hawks.
This book promises a lot and delivers on every one. It’s hard to know where to start as there was hardly an aspect of this book I didn’t enjoy. From the characters to the world building and the intricate plot this really is a great read.
The characters are fantastic. Told from the perspective of Chel, a rather hopeless guard who in an attempt to get out of his sworn oath ends up the soul protector of a rather pompous little prince during a time of extreme upheaval in the Kingdom. Chel is great, he has such a charm about him even though he is mostly inept at his job, it comes across that he generally wants to be a good person. Prince Tarfel on the other hand, at times I wanted to punch him but as the story went on he grew on me. I will say I did find the story a little hard to get into at first. This first few chapters focus on Chel and the prince and they are not the most exciting of reads. However, when we are introduced to the Black Hawks this book really takes off. This is a rag-tag bunch of morally grey misfits formed into a found family band of mercs. Each has such a strong personality but they still manage to shine through and play off each other with such natural humour and grace. By far my favourite is Lemon, who has a very Scottish wit to her. Each of the gang was so intriguing and I cant wait to follow them forward in the series.
The world-building was subtle yet detailed. Never once did it feel like info-dumping. Instead we got bits of the worlds history and culture and religious beliefs through the various characters telling their stories. As we traveled with them we got information of the landscape of the world, its various populations and how they came under rule of the kingdom all in a very natural conversation way. The use of dialogue and dialects is also asset to the world-building, the conversations are natural. The communication between the Black Hawks is filled with humour that just makes it a joy to read about them.
The plot is also filled to the brim with twists and turns. After the introduction it is filled with varied and plentiful action. There are all kinds of battles, ambushes, plots and plans that keep you guessing. All building up to a quick paced ramp up and a reveal at the end that I can forgive the cliffhanger. All in all this is a smashing debut and I am looking forward to the story continuing.