The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston

Never stake more than you can afford to lose.

When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament.

Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war…(taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The Knave of Secrets is available now.

The Knave of Secrets was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The premise immediately had me thinking of a fantasy-meets- Ocean’s 11, which sounded like a blast. However, while the concept looked entertaining, parts of the book just didn’t seem to quite pan out.

The beginning of the book dropped you right smack into the middle of intrigue and a rather abrupt exit, which I loved. I was excited about the pacing and looked forward to a fast-paced con with twists and turns aplenty. Alas, ’twas not to be. The pace slowed quite a bit and just seemed a bit choppy to me. The sections on card games that were scattered throughout might have contributed to that; while they were interesting, they added pauses that sometimes took me out of the narrative.

I did like the magic system and how it figured into so many aspects of the book and its characters. The concept of the tower being held together by magic was a creative one as well. I feel like the author had a lot of really good ideas that just didn’t necessarily belong all in the same book. Or maybe the book needed to be a little longer so he could fully develop them all?

My biggest quibble were the characters, particularly how they interacted. They were supposed to know each other well, but I didn’t get that feeling at all. The way they communicated (or didn’t) felt jilted and a little awkward. At this point, I’m beginning to think it’s a matter of “it’s me, not you”. I think that I was the wrong reader at the wrong time, which makes me wonder if I would have loved The Knave of Secrets had I read it at another time.

At the end of the day, The Knave of Secrets just didn’t work for me. The concept was a cool one, but the execution just didn’t seem to pay off.

The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston- The Write Reads on Tour

Thank you to Rebellion Publishing and The Write Reads for the opportunity to be on the blog tour for The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston. The Knave of Secrets will release June 7th (U.S.) and 9th (U.K.).

Genre: Fantasy
Length: 400 Pages
Publishing: 7th June 2022 (US); 9th June 2022 (UK)
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1786186071/ 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59365822 

About The Knave of Secrets:

A twisty tale of magicians, con artists and card games, where secrets are traded and gambled like coin, for fans of The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Mask of Mirrors.

Never stake more than you can afford to lose.

When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament.

Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war…


———————————————————————————————————-

About the author:

Alex Livingston grew up in various quiet New England towns before moving to Buffalo, NY to study English at Canisius College. He writes SFF prose and interactive fiction. Alex is married and lives in an old house with his brilliant wife and a pile of aged videogame systems.