Book Review: The Armored Saint

The Armored Saint
Author:
Myke Cole
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Tor.com
Rating: 4.5 stars
Synopsis: In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.

How does such a big story come in such a small book? The Armored Saint clocks in at just over 200 pages, but Myke Cole proves that you don’t need an epic length novel to pack a serious emotional punch and some stellar world building.

The Armored Saint is what I consider to be my first real foray into the grimdark realm. I didn’t much know what to expect. I certainly didn’t think I’d be crying over a mouse or gasping quite so loudly when a certain plot twist occured or having a sudden distaste for the word “knitting”. This little book dragged me through hell and I kinda liked it all the more for that. To steal a quote from the great Captain Hammer, “Not my usual, but nice.” (side note: if you do not know what Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog is go look it up NOW!)

Heloise is the heroine we need in books these days. She is isn’t perfect, but she, like so many of us, is trying to find their place in this crazy, messed up world. The world Heloise lives in is brutal in every sense of the word, but she has hope, even through all she suffers. She finds her strength to fight in the most badass yet tragic way. I’ve read books twice the length of The Armored Saint that didn’t have half as much character development for the main character.

Some may argue that the world building and characterization of the secondary cast was lacking. But I feel there was not a word wasted in this book. I called the world building stellar at the beginning of this review because in it’s simplicity, it is damn near perfect. Sure, I don’t know what the currency is in this world, but I can tell you that you certainly do not want to be a wizard and that the religion is super twisted. My imagination was able to weave quite the mind movie with the material it was given and that’s what matters to me.

My final thoughts are that this book is certainly not for the faint of heart, but I definitely recommend it to YA readers that are looking to maybe branch into something a little darker. I’ll definitely need a couple of fluffy books where there aren’t any horrific deaths before I start the second book in this series, Queen of Crows.