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The Grave of Empires #3

Three Axes to Fall

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A deal struck in a dark place set an outlaw mage on the path to revenge. And now that it’s led to places even darker, she and everyone she knows may pay the price for her bargain in the final novel of “an unforgettable epic fantasy” trilogy ( Publisher’s Weekly ).
Sal the Cacophony has made few friends, but many enemies. Many, many enemies. When her magic was taken from her, she cried out for revenge. And a power she never understood promised her vengeance. A deal for a bloody price was made.
And now the bill has come due.
In one of the last free cities of the burned-out ruin of the Scar, Sal’s many foes—old and new—have hunted down her and her few allies—willing and otherwise -- and all her plans to save them might not be enough.
One last stand. One more story. One final blade to be drawn.

For more from Sam Sykes, check

The Grave of
Seven Blades in Black
Ten Arrows of Iron
Three Axes to Fall

Bring Down
The City Stained Red
The Mortal Tally
God's Last Breath

The Affinity for Steel
Tome of the Undergates
Black Halo
The Skybound Sea

737 pages, Kindle Edition

Published December 6, 2022

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About the author

Sam Sykes

44 books1,181 followers
Sam Sykes is the author of Tome Of The Undergates, a vast and sprawling story of adventure, demons, madness and carnage. Suspected by many to be at least tangentially related to most causes of human suffering, Sam Sykes is also a force to be reckoned with beyond literature.

At 25, Sykes is one of the younger authors to have arrived on the stage of literary fantasy. Tome Of The Undergates is his first book, published in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Holland, and Canada. He currently resides in the United States and is probably watching you read this right now.

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5 stars
189 (44%)
4 stars
153 (35%)
3 stars
62 (14%)
2 stars
16 (3%)
1 star
6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews
Profile Image for Emma Reid.
863 reviews27 followers
November 26, 2022
The longest book yet in The Grave of Empires, yet somehow also the most satisfying. All of the conflict from the previous 2 books comes to a head, told in Sam Sykes' distinctive style. While it feels like we're meandering through the story, it all comes together elegantly at the end. But with that ending comes loss, grief, and closure. And of course some BALLER fight scenes. Cinematic to the extreme, filled with sass and wit, and lightning fast action. In my eyes, this book is where Sal finally becomes a hero rather than an antihero and it was worth the wait. We get the backstory we've been waiting for (you know which one) - can't complain!

And I want to reread the entire series now, taking detailed notes on all of the vagrants and magic systems. Like if no one has turned this into a D&D setting yet, what are you even doing?

*Thank you to Orbit and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review*
Profile Image for Matt Watkins.
8 reviews
May 19, 2023
DNF @ 75%. Sadly this one just isn't working for me. I dread opening the book.
Profile Image for Bory.
190 reviews2 followers
December 31, 2022
I guess it was too much to hope that the chaotic fun of Ten Arrows of Iron would carry over to the final instalment in the Grave of Empires trilogy. Three Axes to Fall is much more melodramatic and bloated than either of its predecessors, and that is saying something considering the amount of bloat in Seven Blades of Black, in particular.

Also, and this is far more damning, Three Axes is depressing for large chunks of the story. The humour is greatly diminished - while I legitimately laughed a couple of times whilst reading Ten Arrows, Three Axes failed to get even a smile out of me. The fun cast from Ten Arrows, consisting of Agne, Yria, and Urda is around, only they're miserable. Agne, in particular, is done the dirtiest and it was painful to read, which, to be honest, might have been the point.

Further, the plot is hobbled by an over-abundance on repetition, and unnecessary reiteration. I don't need Velline, a character I otherwise liked, to show up for a fifteenth time to give Sal the same speech as the previous fourteen instances. Velline shows up. Things blow up. Tretta shows up. Things blow up. Some Vagrants show up. Things blow up. Rinse, repeat for 700+ pages. Also, is it me or did Sal had to be saved an absurd number of times?

Finally, the ending left a lot to be desired. We never got to see the Great General. We never got to learn how he figured out what the Relics were and how to use them to power the machines of his Revolution. We never got to see the Empress. The war between the Imperium and the Revolution is still going on. What the hell happened to Yria and Urda? But at least Sal and Liette got to ride off into the sunset, so it's not so bad, I guess.

There are good parts to the book - the Cacophony, his backstory, Sal's relationship with Liette and Jindu, Yria and Sal's rather juvenile but enjoyable sense of humour and vulgarity, the magic system - but I'm not sure that the good outweighs the bad, to be honest.

And that's where I stand on the series as a whole - I'm not sure that the good outweighs the bad. I legitimately liked Ten Arrows, but Both Seven Blades and Three Axes were merely okay, at best. So, would I read something by Sam Sykes in future? I don't know.

P.S., one axes was the Imperium; one axe was the Glorious Revolution of the Fist and Flame... who was the third axe? I never did figure it out.
Profile Image for Alicia.
167 reviews25 followers
March 29, 2023
I'm not disappointed per se, but I think a lot of action scenes could have been cut down or cut out to make room for more emotional development. I know that's not Sal's style, but the middle is somewhat repetitive - Sal gets herself into a bad situation, Sal shoots some stuff, Sal makes the situation worse, Sal runs away and feels sad - and the ending was so fast. In a 700 page book, the resolution was maybe the last 10%.
I'm not bothered by the ambiguous ending, but I kind of wish it had been from Sal's perspective. Does she feel a little lighter now that she's let go of her list? Does she think it was a fair price to keep Liette safe? For that matter, IS Liette safe? Some of the answers were implied, but again it's a 700 page book, I think we could have spent a little more time there.
Overall, there's so much action that it moves fast and Sal is simultaneously heartbreaking and entertaining, but I was hoping for just a bit more feeling for the final book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
January 12, 2023
This was genuinely one of the best books I've read in a while. I have so many thoughts and so much love for this world, these characters, this magic, and this story. I am looking forward to rereading the trilogy at once, instead of with a few months in between each book, because I'm certain I've missed out on some details. This series has been such an amazing, creative, poignant, gritty, and realistic ride. Sykes writes about trauma and the effects of trauma in a way that makes anyone who has experienced trauma resonate with the characters. Throughout the series, I've loved the use of story telling, and telling a story within telling another story. It lends the series an epic feel which reminds me of the Iliad and the Thebaid. I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite series on my bookshelf. 5/5 stars- stunning and raw, this is absolutely going onto my shelf.
Profile Image for Emily.
33 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2023
I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed the end of this series. This ending was damn near everything I wanted and god did it fucking hurt at times. When I first started this series I thought I'd get this brash yet infectious female lead bent on revenger and what I ended up with was a complex and broken woman who gave so much of herself away to protect the ones she loved. This book stripped everything away and left us with one hell of a story to tell.
Profile Image for Michele.
181 reviews22 followers
December 26, 2022
In bellissimo finale, degno coronamento di una bellissima trilogia, superconsigliato, sopratutto ai fans di Joe Abercrombie e del fantasy un po' più dark😉
Profile Image for Smiles.
147 reviews
February 14, 2023
Aaaaaaaaah okay so that whole last part was inSane, the way the war ended? Pfffft heck. I wasn't expecting that getting into this series.
I'm glad love prevailed
Profile Image for Orion.
49 reviews
March 27, 2023
Essa aqui é a história final da Sal a Cacofonia, a conclusão de todas as consequências que foram se construindo ao longo dos dois livros passados. E, bom, foi uma boa caminhada até aqui.

O primeiro capítulo desse livro é o mais longo da trilogia, e o que mais demorei a entender o que estava acontecendo – algo que já acontecia nos dois livros passados, mas que aqui toma um tempo um pouco maior que nos outros, pra você se encontrar no que está rolando. A guerra entre o Império e a Revolução, que havia começado no livro passado como o clímax do plano de Dois Homens Velhos Sozinhos, está agora centrada em uma única cidade em que Sal se encontra: Nova Vigília; e três emissários são enviados até lá, representando as três grandes forças políticas da história (o Império, a Revolução, e os Ashmouths) para tentarem controlar a situação antes que tudo piore ainda mais.

Como falei lá no começo, a história vai se fechando ao longo desse livro, todas as pontas soltas desde o princípio vão se amarrando ao longo das mais de 700 páginas que temos aqui. Além disso, muitos personagens retornam nesse livro, como Cavric, Meret, Rudu, Tretta, e Velline, além de alguns outros novos adicionados à trama. Temos também algumas respostas, como a origem da Cacofonia e qual a Troca que os quickmages fazem com a Senhora Mercadora (sim esse ponto era, pra mim, um dos quais eu mais queria saber, mais mesmo do que a origem da Cacofonia kkkkk).

Mas algumas coisas não me gradaram tanto aqui: Ozhma, a personagem para a qual Sal conta sua história aqui, em diversas vezes funciona quase como o autor se materializando no livro ao vocalizar e apontar constatações que nós, como leitores, já havíamos feito com base nos atos e pensamentos de Sal, fazendo com que muito que ela diz soe como diálogos extremamente expositivos para que fique ainda mais claro para quem lê, o arco de personagem da Sal, e como ela mudou desde Seven Blades in Black.

Outra coisa que me incomodou um pouco aqui foi como em um livro de mais de 700 páginas, tudo se resolve nas últimas 50 páginas. Ok, temos uma narração de como foram as coisas que aconteceram momentos antes do ponto no qual a história se inicia, mas o tempo tirado para a real conclusão das duas principais situações-chave da história foi muito curto, quase que acelerado demais.

Por fim, uma coisa que não necessariamente me incomodou, mas que sei que muitos podem se sentir incomodados, é como muitos aqui não têm um final final propriamente dito. Não quero entrar em detalhes, mas tenha em mente que o que vemos aqui é uma narrativa contada por Sal, sobre a conclusão da sua busca por vingança que acompanhamos desde o primeiro livro, e sobre a resolução do problema com Liette. São esses os dois focos da história.

No mais, não quero entrar em muitos detalhes da história em si, porque acho que ela deve ser mais vivida do que contada. Fica apenas meu contentamento em ver o quanto que Sal cresceu, da personagem completamente autodestrutiva e que não sabia resolver absolutamente nada no diálogo sem envolver violência, para o que temos ao longo desse livro. Foi uma excelente experiência ler essa trilogia do Sam Sykes, e espero poder ver mais dele no futuro.
Profile Image for Diana Gabaldon.
Author 277 books174k followers
December 8, 2022
This is the third book about Sal the Cacophony--a woman with a Strong (and Righteous) Grievance, and a terribly frightening (because it's alive and bad-tempered) Gun.

It's hair-raising, Very Violent and Extremely Funny. (With occasional heart-wrenching moments and snatched romance.) (In the interests of full and frank disclosure--Sam Sykes is my son, but I'd love the book even if he wasn't.)

Other people's opinions:

"Exciting and inventive." - Peter V. Brett

"Compulsive from start to finish." - Kirkus (Starred Review)

"An unforgettable epic fantasy." - Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)

"The tale of Sal the Cacophony is delightfully sarcastic and deeply sorrowful." - Nicholas Eames

"Sykes is a master at taking familiar elements of fantasy and stirring them to a wicked, wholly original churn." - Pierce Brown
Profile Image for Mark.
384 reviews8 followers
June 7, 2023
Three Axes to Fall
Author: Sam Sykes
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publishing Date: 2022
Pgs: 720
A deal struck in a dark place set an outlaw mage on the path to revenge. And now that it’s led to places even darker, she and everyone she knows may pay the price for her bargain in the final novel of “an unforgettable epic fantasy” trilogy (Publisher’s Weekly).

Sal the Cacophony has made few friends, but many enemies. Many, many enemies. When her magic was taken from her, she cried out for revenge. And a power she never understood promised her vengeance. A deal for a bloody price was made.

And now the bill has come due.

In one of the last free cities of the burned-out ruin of the Scar, Sal’s many foes—old and new—have hunted down her and her few allies—willing and otherwise -- and all her plans to save them might not be enough.

One last stand. One more story. One final blade to be drawn.
Sword and Sorcery

Why this book:
Cause the other two books in this series were awesome.
The Page 100 Test:
√ ◄ - good to go.
$ ◄ - this is money.
ᕦ(ò_óˇ) ◄ - strong
ᕦ(ò_ó)ᕤ ◄ - stronger

Favorite Character:
And now as the page count shrinks and I approach the end of the trilogy, after 2,161 pages read, I realize that Sal is one of my favorite characters in books. She's awesome. And I don't want the story to end. I dreaded the page count of the entire trilogy and now...I don't want it to end. …turns out that there are two more books that fall between the books of the main trilogy…cool…provisionally.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
The Scraith called The Wisest fears the Cacophony. Interesting, but keeps right on coming anyway. Eldest doesn’t really fully emerge into the world. And the offscreenishness of what goes down between Eldest and the Cacophony doesn’t lend mystery, feels more like an unwritten chapter.

Favorite Scene:
Honestly, after awhile, I wanted Sal to shoot that damned smart-ass mechanical owl that is arguing about whether they've walked in circles long enough to satisfy the rules to enter the hidden city. Of course, she wouldn’t because Liette told her not to. And Liette is about the only person in the world that Sal likes.

Favorite Concept:
This is a love story between two women. It's a western. It's sword and sorcery. It's magic. It's gunfighters. It's tanks. It's dirgibliles. It's war. It's the price and what you do with your time: who you give it to, how you spend it. Beneath the fantasy, there's life. This is pretty damned good.

The trees in the Nails, the badlands, that aren't trees. The ones that open yellow eyes when you are nearby and whisper dark tidings to you, trying to lure you closer. ... that's good world building.

Hmm Moments:
Why would the Ashmouths choose someone as their representative to the enclave who they can't communicate with and who has no connection to them? The whiskey seller is a cypher in that way. But she had to be there. She was the vehicle by which Sal could tell the story. Rudu brought her in. Cavric introduced her. Sal told her the story. We are Ozhma. She is our in. Sal is the narrator, but Ozhma is us sitting at the table.

Every offer from the powerful to help her has grit and sand as part of the deal or teeth and a metric shit ton of something foul that she'll have to swallow to make it balance.

The Poker Game/DND Table:
Playing poker with Sal would almost certainly lead to her beating someone up or shootin time with ther living magic gun.

Movies and Television:
This should be an anime. It's a freaking awesome world. The story of Sal the Cacophony needs to be seen. And more stories set in this world would be awesome. Maybe instead of being anime, it should be an opera. Sal would approve.
Took this one awhile to catch me, unlike the others in the series. But it took awhile for Sal to come onstage too.

Last Page Sound:
I wish I could give this 6 stars.

It didn’t dawn on me what the Three Axes were until the morning after I had finished the book. They weren’t what I thought they were. Good show.

Deus ex magic gun…but it works.

Questions I’m Left With:
So…did the Ashmouths send Rudu to just hangout and get high while the Empires worked themselves into a frenzy about New Vigil?

Author Assessment:
I am absolutely going to look at the other works of Sam Sykes.
94 reviews4 followers
March 12, 2023
I said this in a review for B2 and will repeat this again - author can write only so much and in this long third book it's painfully obvious.
There are 4 types of characters - the sarcastic one with loads of self pity, the one believing in the cause and following the orders, the good one, and the nerd. This worked in B1 as there was one of each. In this one, you can tell what the 95% characters are going to be like after two sentences. The most painful was the nerd city, where you find out, that for this author somebody educated is basically someone from big bang theory.

There are also the fights, which are even worse than before. It's rinse and repeat from the previous book, every opponent has to deliver some dumb monologue just before killing Sal, but then she gets saved at the last moment. Mage that moves faster than blink of an eye decides to kick Sal in the chest and have her monologue just before she kills her, but guess what, someone saves Sal. And Sal beats her by punching in a face, cause that's what someone who perceives world as slow doesn't expect and can't dodge. Mage who can teleport and just needs to touch Sal first teleports his allies to kill her, when that doesn't work he teleports things in her way to lead her to a special place and only then tries to kill her, but guess what, yes she's saved at last moment. Next time it turns out he has a trick where he can just teleport his hands so he can come from multiple directions and he does that, but guess what happens?

There's general inconsistency on the mages strength, if you're a named character you are super strong, but general nameless mages get killed easily. The bad guys from previous books just have tendency to show up exactly where Sal is, they probably have nothing else to do for them. Sal is as likeable as snake venom, yet people somehow follow and like her, because she's main character I guess. The enemy mages (named ones) are all the best ever, which makes you wonder why didn't imperium win the war with so much talent.

Let's not forget about the huge amounts of self pity in this book and terrible ending which shows that the author had no idea what to do with this story. This really should have been one book, but if it's popular you gotta milk it as much as you can, right.
Profile Image for Daniel Holland.
125 reviews
December 26, 2022
Thank you Hachette Audio for copy of "Three Axes to Fall" by Sam Sykes! Received it hours before my physical arrived so I went back and forth as holiday preparation allowed me to.

Daisy May-Parsons narrated the series and killed it. The one liners, the action sequences, the quiet moments when my heart gets ripped from my chest. Done, crushed it.

To folks who have not read the Graves of Empires series, it is good, read it. I did the leg work and can say it lands it. Thank you @pieraforde for shilling for Seven Blades years back so I gave it a try.

After the one (reasonably) quiet bit of the Scar got blown to hell, after some airships full of bombs fell on it, Sal is on the move with the refugees she (sort of) feels responsible for. Because of course she has a plan on where to go with the being of immense power that is living inside of Liette. All while the Empire, the Revolution, and some of the folks on her list are trying to get them. YUP, totally fine when you have a magic gun that is starting to do "new things" that are a bit unsettling.

Reasons to read:
-We find out what happened to Jeff, the best of swords
-A variety of murderbirds
-Big expansion on the background of the Empire and Revolution, their tech, mages, history, the works
-Sal is personing again
-Yria and Urda, their concern for each other and exquisite insults
-Agne, **** I am having a hard time remembering what she went through without feeling emotions so I will leave it at that.
-The origin of the Cacophony
-Somehow I even forgive that person, and I'm super petty

-Being burdened with the knowledge that I can not smoothly deliver lines when people really want to kill me, its like 3 people probably but still
Profile Image for Benoit.
179 reviews13 followers
March 16, 2023
So, overall, I really liked this book, but it was probably the most difficult of the three for me to really get into.

Highlights: the beginning and the end of the book. Those are absolutely relentless, and so much stuff happens in the last 100 pages that I could hardly put it down. Revelations getting dropped left and right, plot points getting wrapped up... Shit goes DOWN during the climax of this book!

What made this a bit more of a challenging read for me was everything in between. Don't get me wrong, there are some excellent story beats in the middle of this book, but I just felt that sometimes, it took a while to get to them... Like, a LONG while. What I'm trying to say is: this book is long.

Slight spoiler ahead - I'm not going to ruin any plot points, but if you want to know nothing going in, I'd rather be safe than sorry.. So,

In any case, if you've read the first 2 books in the series, I don't see what anything to stop you from reading this one. It provides more thrills and snappy dialogue from all the characters, as well as what I feel is a definitive ending.
Profile Image for Allison.
20 reviews
January 12, 2023
The last book of a series always breaks my heart. After those final words are read, there's an emptiness that lingers. A feeling knowing that you'll never set foot in that world again for new adventures and birdshit crazy characters.

I pray this isn't the last we here of Sal and Liette, I really hope it isn't.

That being said, I am satisfied... for now.

Profile Image for Eric.
128 reviews2 followers
February 28, 2023
This series reminds me in a lot of ways of Felix Gilman's The Half-Made World - the conflict between two inexorable forces (here, the Imperium's magic and the Revolution's machines, in THMW Gun's chaos and magic vs. Line's mechanized order) and the people trying to make a life in the middle of the conflict. Sal's life and arc are brutally tragic but without being so grimdark as something like the First Law series or some of the other grindingly depressing fantasy that's so en vogue these days.

I thought the resolution of the trilogy was pretty satisfying; Sal and Liette's evolving relationship really comes into its own on this one, the characters arcs made sense, and all in all it was well worth reading.
Profile Image for Paul Raised.
88 reviews
May 3, 2023
6/10 Overall I think this is a good trilogy and would recommend 10/10, however as a fan picking apart this particular entry, I can't go above three stars.

The previous book was perfection but this one couldn’t do it. It’s too long and hits a slump midway. Character personality shifts too much. The core concept of the other two books is also off for this one. I was dissapointed with the finale.

While the other two books kind of ease you next to the main characters as they go, this one keeps detached at a distance.

If this had been the second book it would have been fine, it's also fine if a fourth book comes out at some point, but as a series finale I'm sorry to say it fell short.

As usual good and bad guys are way too hard to kill, they make too many comebacks. It gets irritating after 400 pages, whatever.
Profile Image for Gautam Surath.
559 reviews40 followers
January 5, 2023
The first book of this year and we start with a bang. Or should we say we end with a bang? For we have come to the end of the journey for Sal and the Cacophony and its been a really wild ride. From the high of Seven Blades in Black it became apparent that it would take a lot to keep the quality going. While mostly holds true, Three axes to Fall has some real high points which make this a rather fitting end to the trilogy. We get to know Sal much better and the addition of a narrator adds an excellent POV to the telling. Sam Sykes delivers in spades and I can heartily recommend this series for people who love a larger than life protagonist and a whole lot of violence. In the end though SCAR is not a place that is on my list to visit!
Profile Image for Colin.
Author 5 books125 followers
January 11, 2023
Book 3 of the Grave of Empires trilogy - a bizarre and awesome mix of fantasy/Western with steampunk elements and operatic drama, this book has the showdown between the Vagrant (magical outlaw) Sal the Cacophony and her allies and the forces of both the magocratic Imperium and the steampunk technocracy of the Revolution, defending the poor folk of the Scar (the frontier badlands) who just want to be left alone by those imperialist powers. Sykes has crafted a compelling magic system (the Barter - it costs users of magic - sometimes it costs them everything - to use their powers). Sal's sentient gun, the Cacophony from which she takes her Vagrant name, is growing in power, and so is the demonic Scrath locked in her girlfriend Liette's body. One heck of a ride! I recommend the whole series!
2 reviews
June 4, 2023
wanted to love this

DNF at 65%

I should start with, I loved the first two. I find Sal to be a deeply fascinating character. But for whatever reason this one falls flat. And the reason for it has been pointed out on countless reviews on here, it’s just the same repeated formula over and over. Sal and Co find a new city, things are looking promising then it gets fucked up monumentally. Sal is sad about it then quickly moves on. Her ragtag group which we fall in love with in the second book all get done DIRTY.

I wanted to like it and see the conclusion to the story I’ve been reading but I was slogging through every word, and when it’s just not fun to read I had to put it down, maybe try again later.
Profile Image for Mridupawan  Podder.
258 reviews11 followers
January 8, 2023
I cannot get over the ending.
I simply cannot.

Sal the Cacophony. I'm going to miss you.

If you've not read this trilogy, you're missing out on one of the baddest female protagonists of all time. This was the longest of the three and the most satisfying even though it came to an end.

Sal - vagrant, rebel, mage killer. She has single handedly started wars and destroyed cities. In book 3, the Imperial, the Revolution, the assassins and vagrants alike are all after her ass and not just for a piece of it.

Sal has just one goal. Keep "Twenty two dead roses in a chipped porcelain vase" alive. And nothing, human, animal or otherwise is going to stop her. Not even an all-out war.
Profile Image for Jules.
220 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2023
I'm so glad this is over.
I mean, why god why had this book to be sooooo looooong?
If we removed the unnecessary cursing, the self pity moments, the lack of communication-problem issues it would be around 1/4 shorter and STILL WOULD BE TOO LONG.

I hate this protagonist, I deeply dislike her and was never rooting for her.
This book plot was so weak. Just like Sal, it was winging it on its way.

Formula seemed to be:
- Where do we go from here?
- Ok, lets go here.
- Bad luck ! There are baddies waiting for Sal
- Fight, fight, battle... Sal is about to die.
- Oh no! someone saves Sal last minute.

Rinse and Repeat.

I swear I had to force myself to finish it. Excruciating.
238 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2023
An interesting end to the trilogy. As much as I was maybe more enthusiastic to read the finale (perhaps) of this world, I was very unimpressed with how Sal was particularly vulnerable most of this story, consistently getting miraculously saved from situations. I felt the Liette storyline should have been a bigger part of the picture, but was not. I also took issue with the needless loss of lives for the Empire when all they had to do was wait for Torle to get there. Too many holes in this one for my taste to the point where it got in the way with my enjoyment of the book as a part of the whole story. Now what?
286 reviews4 followers
December 26, 2022
Goodbye Sal

What a journey its been, Sal and that gun of hers stole the show! Forget all about the stellar side characters, forget all about the very creative and interesting plot. Sal is the spotlight! This installment displayed Alot more feelings and self reflection but that can be overlooked when you consider the body count is astronomical. From town to town she leaves ruin in her wake trying to save the only love she knows. Sounds kind of sappy but it works. I'm going to miss her, lets hope she finds the peace she so deserves. Most likely not.
Profile Image for Budd Trippet.
35 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2023
I listened to this book and loved it. The team of Sykes and narrator Parsons pull off another triumph! The humor, pathos and mind boggling violence of this series are unparalleled. Daisy-Mae Parsons is the perfect voice for Sal the Cacophony and she lends her talent to all characters in this story. Mage Imperium vs fanatical Republicans - with the hapless people of the Scar in between. I also read two of Sykes novellas in the series as well. The audiobook rendition of the three novels is a masterpiece. More Sal the Cacophony and ensemble please. Thanks to both Author and Narrator!
Profile Image for Patrick Raring.
6 reviews1 follower
April 4, 2023
Yet another great book from Sam! I've loved the intrigue and character development throughout the trilogy but good night, even with a magical scarf, and an amazing partner, I don't know how Sal can get up after all the punishment she takes in all of these books.
No spoilers or really any details but I've enjoyed watching Sal grow as a character, despite her continued outward gruff towards everyone. I wish there had been slightly less meandering through her "side quests" but I very much enjoyed the story overall.
39 reviews
January 5, 2023
Omg please don’t waste your time. I wasn’t thrilled with the first book, second was about the same but the third DRAAAAAAGED ON AND ON. The end climax was SO ANTI CLIMATIC!!!! 2 seconds and problems solved. Everyone is so dang dramatic and monologuey. Major ugh on the whole.. bleck…. What a waste of Tiiiiiime.
309 reviews
January 30, 2023
Chaotic finish to the Sal story, I found the narrative to be a bit muddled with the time jumps, and would have preferred a more linear story. The gimmick of jumping ahead / behind in time didn't quite work.

With that being said, I'm happy I read it, and as always Sam Sykes can write a banger of an action scene.
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311 reviews4 followers
March 12, 2023
This was a great ending to a great trilogy.

While I can completely understand why these books may not be for everyone, they totally work for me. I loved the snarkiness and banter and just the general vibe that these books have had.

I'm going to miss my favorite magic gun-slinging, mage killing heroine Sal the Cacophony.

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