Review: Seven Blades in Black (The Grave of Empires #1) by Sam Sykes

Rating: ★★★★★


Sam Sykes returns with a new fantasy that introduces to an unforgettable outcast magician caught between two warring empires.

Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of magical warfare. The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, is where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun and a list of names she intended to use both on. But vengeance is a flame swift extinguished. Betrayed by those she trusted most, her magic torn from her and awaiting execution, Sal the Cacophony has one last tale to tell before they take her head. All she has left is her name, her story and the weapon she used to carved both. 

Vengeance is its own reward.


Thanks to Orbit and the author for an advanced reading copy of Seven Blades in Black (The Grave of Empires #1) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

So, I first found out about Sam Sykes via Twitter (which, if you aren’t following him, I suggest you fix that) and knew that he had written a couple of series already, but for some reason, I hadn’t seen a lot of talk about his books. I’m thinking now that this sentiment will change fairly soon.

Seven Blades in Black is only the second book this year (the other being Josiah Bancroft’s The Hod King) that I have binged in less than 2 days, and that is saying a lot because this book weighs in at over 600 pages. Which, if you want to buy the paperback edition by the end of this review (or if you were already planning on it before my inane rambling), it is only about $12, which is STUPID CHEAP.

Sykes has written the beginning to what I expect to be a powerhouse epic fantasy romp full of mages, bloody battles, a sweet-ass gunslinger, witty humor, and enough swear words to to fill a swear bank. It is exactly what I want in the fantasy novels I read and has already claimed a spot in my top 3 reads of 2019. Yes people, it is THAT GOOD.

Sal the Cacophony (I know, sweet name) is on a revenge-binger across a war-torn land called ‘The Scar’ and looks to off the mages that betrayed her. She wields an immensely powerful hand-cannon, a sword named Jeff (heh), and, somehow, an upbeat attitude that things will go her way. The list of names seems to go on forever, but with a sheer sense of will, and with the help of her Chocobo-like steed, Sal makes her way across the wastes to finish what she started. Only, mages don’t really stand down or give up very easily…

If you are a fan of epic fantasy where the action never slows down or enjoy tons of witty banter and swear words to go along with gritty violence, do yourself a favor and pick up this tome. I would recommend it to all who follow my reviews, all who enjoyed/continue to enjoy the Final Fantasy games, or those who love anime. It is a bundle of fun and opens the door for so much more.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Sounds like a fantastic read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FanFiAddict says:

      It really is! I highly recommend it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tammy says:

    I passed on this because of the cover, I know, shallow! But I’ll be correcting that mistake very soon😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FanFiAddict says:

      Yeah.. definitely not my fav cover, but the wrap is fantastic!


  3. Nice, I love his sense of humor, can’t wait to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Off The TBR says:

    I want to read your review but can’t! Not till I’m done with the book. So far it’s good. Am I gonna love it at the end?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow this sounds like an absolutely amazing read!!

    Liked by 1 person

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