Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: Shy Knives by Sam Sykes

Pathfinder Tales: Shy Knives
Author:  Sam Sykes
Series:  Pathfinder Tales 40
Publisher:  Tor Books, October 18, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print);  US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765384355 (print) 9780765384348 (eBook)

Shaia “Shy” Ratani is a clever rogue who makes her living outside of strictly legal methods. While hiding out in the frontier city of Yanmass, she accepts a job solving a nobleman’s murder, only to find herself sucked into a plot involving an invading centaur army that could see the whole city burned to the ground. Shy could stop that from happening, but doing so would involve revealing herself to the former friends who now want her dead. Add in an aristocratic partner with the literal blood of angels in her veins, and Shy quickly remembers why she swore off doing good deeds in the first place.

Based on the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

With more than a million players worldwide, Pathfinder is the world's most popular tabletop RPG.

Brannigan’s Review

Sam Sykes has joined the Pathfinder world. I know there are a lot of readers out there excited to find this out. Sykes brings his humor that has won him many fans in the past to a gripping who dunit mystery set in the Pathfinder world entitled Shy Knives.

Shaia ‘Shy’ Ratani, a thief with a heart of bronze who hasn’t quiet decided to turn away from her roguish ways is hired by Dalaris, a grieving woman whose betrothed was murdered. Everyone says he was murdered by centaurs, but Dalaris believes there are hidden forces working against her and her now dead fiancé. It becomes Shy’s job to find out who really killed him and why. As is common in most of these murder mysteries dealing with the upper class, nothing is as it first appears, including the characters.

Sykes does a wonderful job making Shy a truly engaging rogue. Her wit is always on point and often gets herself into trouble as she has no filter on what she says. This is where the majority of the famous Sykes’ humor comes into play. I also enjoyed the fact that Shy was still and foremost a rogue and wasn’t afraid to look after herself and break and bend rules to get the job done. Dalaris is also a wonderfully complex character who at first doesn’t appear to have a lot of depth but then you learn she too holds her secrets.

My only complaint is a personal one. I have never been a fan of first person narratives. I know this is a personal preference. For me it’s harder to get immersed into a story. It also makes me always wonder if I can trust the POV of the character. Another part of this story that might be an issue for other readers is the humor. It’s not a comedy by any means, but Sykes’s humor is unique and I can see if you don’t like his style you might find the book irritating. Some readers like their fantasy dark and serious, so take that into consideration.

Shy Knives is a perfect rogue’s tale. Sam Sykes knows how to write an interesting and humorous fantasy murder mystery. If any of those things are interesting to you, I would highly suggest you read this book. There are minor adult situations, language and violence so I would recommend it to older teens and adults.


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