“Not even a devil can save you from yourself.”
What if the familiar young peasant boy (think Kvothe, Fitz, insert-male-fantasy-lead-here), destined to become a hero and bring vengeance down on those responsible for the deaths of everyone he’s ever known and loved, the one of humble beginnings and wild potential, dies without any fanfare, and with only an old woman to bear witness? What if she isn’t just any old woman?
Turns out she’s Cold Zosia, the Stricken Queen, who 30 years prior bound six devils and tore up the empire with her Five Villains, took the throne herself and then supposedly died a deserved death in a coup. Except she didn’t, and the murder of her adopted village seems like the long-awaited comeuppance for dirty deeds and good intentions gone sour. So what now does she have to lose? Maybe the hero should’ve been the young boy that her devil dog drags up the mountain on the cusp of death, young and full of potential, but only Zosia remains when the smoke clears, and she realizes she’s going to have to do what she does best — raze it all to the ground.
“‘Mercy. Now there’s a devil I won’t have any truck with, not from here until my dying day,’ she said.”
I loved so much about this book. I loved Zosia and her devil, Choplicker, I loved the Villains (especially Maroto and Hoartrap) and the world Marshall built. I loved its handling of race and sexuality and age, and I loved its creeptastic little-v villains and scary major religion. I cannot WAIT for the second installment. In the meantime, I recommend this to anyone and everyone, there’s something here for all.
I’d love you to share your thoughts on the book or my review below. I’m also dying for book recs that feature old(er) women saving the world (or destroying it?) and generally doing important or interesting things, so rec away!