It's a big story, grand on scale and packed with themes that range from the rich/poor divide to racial intolerance and simple greed. It's also a rollicking read, a ripping yarn spent in the company of desperate, damaged, yet ultimately sympathetic individuals. Sykes's love of his characters shines through in his writing, making The City Stained Red his finest book yet.
With playful language, distinctly drawn characters, and a cavalcade of action in service to a coherent plot, this book is a winner. I'll be reading the other books about Lenk and the gang while awaiting the next volume in the Bring Down Heaven trilogy
Sam Sykes has crafted a splendid adventure story here, and I really had times where I could not put the book down and forced myself with eyes so tired to read one more chapter, and then another.
There's plenty of slapstick humour despite the darkness and that familiar sense of wondrous adventure that lurks just around the corner is still here. Still, "The City Stained Red" somehow fells like a better and more streamlined version of its predecessors....Sykes tells just enough to make you eager for more. Well, consider the job done - I'm ready for the sequel.
With skillful worldbuilding, unexpected humor, and characters real enough to touch, this is easily Sykes's best book to date
Seven Blades in Black offers villains that are as memorable and unique as the heroes . . . It's an immersive read in a well realised world
Exciting and inventive. I never realised how much I needed wizard-hunting gunslingers in my life
Seven Blades in Black is terrific. The tale of Sal the Cacophony is delightfully sarcastic and deeply sorrowful
Sykes is a master at taking familiar elements of fantasy and stirring them to a wicked, wholly original churn . . . Ludicrous, wicked, delightful
By the end of the first page, you'll know Sam is in love with his characters. By the end of the second, you'll know you are too
An irresistible mix of passion and wit
Sykes' writing is full of heart, hilarity, and the frank understanding that as humans we are all disasters. Come for the adventures, stay for the weirdos
Compulsive from start to finish
Gunslingers and mad mages and monsters, oh my