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Saint Death's Daughter

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Life gets complicated when Death gets involved. To be born into a family of royal assassins pretty much guarantees that your life is going to be… rather unusual. Especially if, like Miscellaneous “Lanie” Stones, you also have a vicious allergy to all forms of violence and bloodshed, and an uncanny affinity for bringing the dead back to life. To make matters worse, family deb Life gets complicated when Death gets involved. To be born into a family of royal assassins pretty much guarantees that your life is going to be… rather unusual. Especially if, like Miscellaneous “Lanie” Stones, you also have a vicious allergy to all forms of violence and bloodshed, and an uncanny affinity for bringing the dead back to life. To make matters worse, family debt looms – a debt that will have to be paid sooner rather than later if Lanie and her sister are to retain ownership of the ancestral seat, Stones Manor. Lanie finds herself courted and threatened by powerful parties who would love to use her worryingly intimate relationship with the goddess of death for their own nefarious ends. But the goddess has other plans…


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Life gets complicated when Death gets involved. To be born into a family of royal assassins pretty much guarantees that your life is going to be… rather unusual. Especially if, like Miscellaneous “Lanie” Stones, you also have a vicious allergy to all forms of violence and bloodshed, and an uncanny affinity for bringing the dead back to life. To make matters worse, family deb Life gets complicated when Death gets involved. To be born into a family of royal assassins pretty much guarantees that your life is going to be… rather unusual. Especially if, like Miscellaneous “Lanie” Stones, you also have a vicious allergy to all forms of violence and bloodshed, and an uncanny affinity for bringing the dead back to life. To make matters worse, family debt looms – a debt that will have to be paid sooner rather than later if Lanie and her sister are to retain ownership of the ancestral seat, Stones Manor. Lanie finds herself courted and threatened by powerful parties who would love to use her worryingly intimate relationship with the goddess of death for their own nefarious ends. But the goddess has other plans…

30 review for Saint Death's Daughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    This book is a lot. I don’t know the last time that I read a book that felt so much like work to read but this was almost entirely worth it. I also know this book fits in with my reasoning for never looking at Goodreads ratings for recommendations because it punishes the different and rewards the mediocre. In Saint Death’s Daughter we are introduced to Lanie, the youngest daughter from a long line of family Necromancers known for dying young and being evil. Lanie doesn’t quite fit the mold and h This book is a lot. I don’t know the last time that I read a book that felt so much like work to read but this was almost entirely worth it. I also know this book fits in with my reasoning for never looking at Goodreads ratings for recommendations because it punishes the different and rewards the mediocre. In Saint Death’s Daughter we are introduced to Lanie, the youngest daughter from a long line of family Necromancers known for dying young and being evil. Lanie doesn’t quite fit the mold and has the powers but not the evil. We follow her through the years and through many separate trials and tribulations. I can’t really summarize better because I don’t even know what to focus on. This book was like a demented love child of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and (hear me out) DiscWorld by Terry Pratchett. I think something that a lot of the negative reviews were kind of missing was that this is a comedy, as well as high fantasy drama. The author uses footnotes and asides, historical ridiculousness, and dark humor throughout the story and peppered into the chapters. A lot of the information presented (and it's a LOT) isn’t necessary to the story itself, it's just some background in the form of a punchline. The story was darkly funny once you knew what it was getting at. The world building, which is weighed down by just how expansive it is, is still very interesting and once picked up, amazing! We get multiple cultures, regions, religions, dialects, magic systems all in this one story. Which relative to the length of it (seriously if GRRM wrote this world this book would be five million pages long) is astounding. Much like Pratchett’s DiscWorld did over 40+books we get dark and humorous histories of families and conflicts. The characters were lovely and diverse. Non-binary rep, casual poly, and LGBT+ relationships everywhere. Characters that seemed one note early would come back and be filled in wonderfully later. Lanie was so easy to support and love. I loved all the relationships in this. Even the conflicting ones because they were so interesting. The plot was so interesting and jumped unexpectedly in so many places that I feel as if I read the plots of three books in one. So many interesting turns and twists that I was constantly engaged (only a little drag in the middle but I couldn’t even blame it, because I too, wanted Lanie to have a bit of a break at that point). I absolutely loved the magic systems in this. It was so original for what should be probably written into the ground already but so many different ways of viewing magic even in the book itself! 5 stars for magic! The only reason that this book is not five stars is because I feel that the writing has made it fairly inaccessible. This book was HARD to read and I was interested! But never, not once, could I just glide through the story. I know that might make it sound like I want to be lazy or something but…maybe I do. I want to be entertained and not necessarily so deeply challenged for said entertainment. And I don’t think that this book really needed to be like this. The author seemed to just have an excessive use of a thesaurus and over complicated sentence structures. This becomes a problem even in CONTEXT of the story. When a certain language in the book is supposed to be particularly verbose and prose-y, its barely indistinguishable from the writing in the rest of the story. It didn’t stand out beyond its rhyming. I had several lines that I would have highlighted on a regular app to show just how purple some of it was. If I could have just sat back a little and relaxed in the moment and gotten lost in the words without having to have an ongoing brain workout for words I don’t regularly use this would be five stars. It's already pretty overwhelming with how much detail she put in, it didn’t need to be quite so difficult to just get through singular lines as well. Because of these of these things I totally understand the bad reviews even if I'm sad at its suffering rating because of it. However, I would never tell an author how to write. Just a heads up, that this won’t really be accessible to all and maybe that is fine for them and their vision. But I think if they cut down just a little this could be a hugely popular series. Tips for reading this: I saw a lot of reviews complaining about the months and days and gods all listed right at the beginning but don’t be overwhelmed by this. Its extra info and barely matters. When has it ever mattered if like Elizabeth Bennett met Darcy on a Tuesday in March? It doesn’t. Just like the days don’t matter here. Its just a cool detail that makes sense when a world doesn’t have our history. Same with ‘all the introduced characters that don’t matter’ - her history is like 90% jokes. Laugh at their silly death and move on. You don’t need to memorize them. Any Gods that become important are explained in the moment they do. Final thought: I totally ship Mak and Lanie and I think I’m outta luck on that one. Also: like all the violence trigger warnings! This is dark and brutal and definitely not YA, I hope they are not marketing it as YA. NA if anything. Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion publishing for this eARC in exchange for my honest review! This book will be available on April 12, 2022 if it sounds even vaguely interesting to you and you are willing to work a little then I totally recommend it! Me: this author is too wordy Also Me: writes 1k word review of book I have a problem....

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amal El-Mohtar

    This is the blurb I wrote for this book (a portion of which is excerpted on the cover): SAINT DEATH'S DAUGHTER is a tumultuous, swaggering, cackling story, a gorgeous citrus orchard with bones for roots. Miscellaneous Stones’ journey into adulthood and power, sorting knowledge from wisdom and vengeance from justice, has an ocean’s breadth and depth, its storms and sparkles and salt. Soaring with love and absolutely fizzing with tenderness and joy--I have never read anything so utterly alive. This is the blurb I wrote for this book (a portion of which is excerpted on the cover): SAINT DEATH'S DAUGHTER is a tumultuous, swaggering, cackling story, a gorgeous citrus orchard with bones for roots. Miscellaneous Stones’ journey into adulthood and power, sorting knowledge from wisdom and vengeance from justice, has an ocean’s breadth and depth, its storms and sparkles and salt. Soaring with love and absolutely fizzing with tenderness and joy--I have never read anything so utterly alive.

  3. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    I was looking forward to this, I always like a necromancer, but DNF at 65%. It's well written with a flavour of Pratchett / Jonathan L Howard type humour, especially in the names and footnotes. The worldbuilding is immense but makes perfect sense (I am always put off by fantasy novels that start with a glossary/reference list, but I really didn't feel it was necessary here, the world and magic system are very clearly conveyed). The characters are engaging with some intriguing relationships. But I was looking forward to this, I always like a necromancer, but DNF at 65%. It's well written with a flavour of Pratchett / Jonathan L Howard type humour, especially in the names and footnotes. The worldbuilding is immense but makes perfect sense (I am always put off by fantasy novels that start with a glossary/reference list, but I really didn't feel it was necessary here, the world and magic system are very clearly conveyed). The characters are engaging with some intriguing relationships. But it's...well, basically, this is a huge, extensively developed world with a lot of characters, many added just for fun, and the author gleefully rolls around lavishing detail and backstory and colour on it. And as a reader, either you sink into this and live and breathe it, and love every moment of it and wish it was twice as long--or you decide you want more than 200pp of plot in 500pp of book, and move on. Regrettably, I was in the latter camp. I wish I'd read this on holiday, when I might have felt much more in the mood. If you want a massive queer-friendly immensely developed world, and are happy to go at the pace of a story that takes its time, you'll love this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Siavahda

    I AM ONE GREAT BIG MESS OF SPARKLY EXCLAMATION MARKS AND I CANNOT EVEN. THERE ARE NO WORDS. THIS IS THE MOST PERFECT BOOK TO EVER BOOK. FULL REVIEW TO COME!!! :FULL REVIEW BELOW!: HIGHLIGHTS ~reliquaries > roses as the Most Romantic Gift ~Do you floomp or do you froof??? ~The dog does not die ~Real necromancers love life ~don’t trust the birds ~dress your school up like a brothel to trick people into an education A very few times in my life, I’ve encountered books that make the universe entire shift into I AM ONE GREAT BIG MESS OF SPARKLY EXCLAMATION MARKS AND I CANNOT EVEN. THERE ARE NO WORDS. THIS IS THE MOST PERFECT BOOK TO EVER BOOK. FULL REVIEW TO COME!!! :FULL REVIEW BELOW!: HIGHLIGHTS ~reliquaries > roses as the Most Romantic Gift ~Do you floomp or do you froof??? ~The dog does not die ~Real necromancers love life ~don’t trust the birds ~dress your school up like a brothel to trick people into an education A very few times in my life, I’ve encountered books that make the universe entire shift into alignment, books that are the culmination of every moment from the Big Bang to now. Books that feel like the reason the Big Bang happened, like everything that has ever existed did so just so that these books could be written and published and put in my hands. Like every moment that ever was has been leading up to this one. Books that feel like the point; of the world, of humanity, of me. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek. Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente. A few priceless others. And, now, Saint Death’s Daughter. How are you supposed to talk about a book it feels like you were born to read? * Take a generous handful of edible candy jewels and mix them into a casket of perfectly-cut gemstones. Stir in the most beautiful sugar skulls you can find. Add red velvet and pink tulle, spangles and razor blades, sequins and silver spearheads. Choose the most perfect, moonstone-gleaming bones and entomb them lovingly with your treasures. Breathe life into little mice skeletons to watch over your hoard. Give them tutus and tiaras and burning blue fire where their eyes would be. Give them cuddles and kisses and names. Cast royal blood in a circle around it all, and set that blood alight. Et voilà: Saint Death’s Daughter. * In all her twenty-two years, Lanie had mainly kept company with forty thousand skeletons (mostly furniture), a ghost (megalomaniacal), and a revenant housekeeper (seldom garrulous). The thing is, I don’t want to tell you much about this book. I want you to experience it the way I did; a cake whose every layer is more delicious than the last; a gemstone that always has another glittering facet when you turn it over in your hands; a gift that never stops giving. And part of that was the surprise, of going in not knowing what to expect. For once, I have no argument with the blurb being coy with information. This is a book you should go into unprepared. And unarmed. Lay down your armour. Your cynicism, your scepticism, your grown-up-ism – set them all aside. The part of you that frets about what other people think, the part that would be too embarrassed to dye your hair rainbow colours or deck yourself in glitter, the part that’s too shy to get up on stage and sing karaoke even though you’d love to – let all of that go. You don’t need them here. Saint Death’s Daughter is an escape, and it’s an escape because it’s true, because it taps into something real and rare that too many of us struggle to remember: life is fucking wonderful, actually. * Saint Death’s Daughter is joy. (Not a joy – although that too! – but joy.) It’s a feast, a banquet, a ball, rich and glittering and strange and perfect. This is a book about a necromancer but it is fundamentally a book about life, about the love of life, about how beautiful and wonderful it is to be alive in the world. Love was the Dreamcalling, love the Great Wakening, love the foundation of the Maranathasseth Anthem. It was the finest of all reasons to live–and after death, to live again. You would not believe how long it’s taken me to write this review, or how many drafts I’ve started and scrapped. I simply don’t know how to talk about it. But something clicked recently, and I realised what it was I was struggling to put into words about this book: Saint Death’s Daughter is the opposite of depression. The exact opposite. It is the opposite of depression, distilled. She wanted to eat everything and everyone right down to the bone and suck the marrow clean. This book is giggles and glory, richness and rawness, sweet and seraphic and swish. It is ornate and orphic, jubilant and jocose, luxurious and luminous and lit. It is flamboyant and fierce, dashing and devious, iridescent and intoxicating, extravagant and effervescent and epic. It is candyfloss and glitter and toe-bones as love-gifts; a literal, physical allergy to violence in a babe raised by a revenant; jewelled nail-talons pricking fingers so you can wield blood-fire. It is rich in everything, and overflows with love and life and gorgeous prose, an ivory cornucopia of unstinting, unending magic. Literal magic: necromancy and shapeshifting and blood-fire-wielding, deities and revenants and ghosts, even one character who can slow down time. But also the kill-for-you die-for-you live-for-you magic of family and friendship, and I don’t care if that sounds like a Hallmark card, it’s genuine and moving and caught my heart in my throat. It is everything at once, and I don’t know how that’s possible – I don’t know how you can have Epic Fantasy vibes and a school set up inside a brothel to trick would-be patrons into getting an education, how you can have green moustaches alongside terrifying Blackbird Brides, how you can have divine benedictions alongside mispronounced lemonade. I don’t know how you can have Fire Knights next to froofing, how footnotes full of glorious silliness can go so well with scenes that will have you sobbing, or how any one story can juggle so many different kinds of love and make them all balance perfectly, none outweighing the others. I don’t know how a single book can make me gasp and beam and cackle and quake and pother and hiss and whoop and goosebump and cheer and crow and curse and cry, but I can only assume each of the 12 gods of Athe blessed this book like fairy godmothers and these are all the gifts they gave wrapped up in paper and ink. Saint Death’s Daughter is absolutely a gift. Read the rest at Every Book a Doorway!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Leighton

    3.5 stars Whimsically dark and fantastically creative this magnificently macabre fantasy is possibly the most original and enchantingly eccentric book I’ve read so far this year and I must say, I enjoyed it. Lanie Stones, the youngest daughter of Liriat’s Royal Assassin and Chief Executioner has never led a normal life. Born with a gift for necromancy and allergic to violence, she was raised in isolation at the family’s crumbling mansion by her friend and revenant Goody Graves. But when her parent 3.5 stars Whimsically dark and fantastically creative this magnificently macabre fantasy is possibly the most original and enchantingly eccentric book I’ve read so far this year and I must say, I enjoyed it. Lanie Stones, the youngest daughter of Liriat’s Royal Assassin and Chief Executioner has never led a normal life. Born with a gift for necromancy and allergic to violence, she was raised in isolation at the family’s crumbling mansion by her friend and revenant Goody Graves. But when her parents are murdered, it falls to Lanie and her murderess sister Nita to settle the family’s debts or loose their ancestral home—and Goody with it. Appeals to Liriat’s ruler are ignored …until she too, is murdered throwing the entire nation into doubt. Hunted by Liriat’s enemies, persued by her family’s creditors and haunted by the ghost of her great-grandfather, Lanie needs more than luck to survive the next few months—but when the goddess of Death is on your side, anything is possible. The world-building was absolutely incredible and so vividly detailed; exploring different religions, cultures, languages and even magic systems that I found myself totally immersed. The history and Lore incorporated was also really enjoyable—if rather dark—honestly, I could’ve spent the entire novel just reading about the darkly humorous conflicts, gossip and overall ridiculousness surrounding the Lanie’s family. Likewise, I really liked our protagonist, Miscellaneous “Lanie” Stones, who suffers from an allergy to violence (on top of her extremely rare gift of necromancy) and thought it was really interesting to see how she navigates life and the dynamics of her family, who thrive off their long and illustrious history of violence. The long cast of supporting characters that seemingly gravitates around Lanie is also really entertaining and thanks to the first person perspective we get a lot of details into them all. My faves were Goody Graves (the long suffering and centuries old Revenant bound to the Stones ancestral home), Canon Lir (Lanie’s friend, confidante and love interest) and Datu (Lanie’s niece & daughter of her incredibly unlikeable sister, Nita.) I’m unsure if it was intentional , but the Stones’ family really reminded me of The Addams Family (which is something I really enjoyed) they even have a butler-type servant in the revenant Goody—who’s for the most part quite Lurch-like both in proportions and demeanour. Goody is also portrayed as a bit of a surrogate mother for Lanie and I found their relationship/ dynamics were more emotional than any of Lanie’s familial bonds—I just loved these two in their scenes together. Though I did enjoy this overall, I did feel that the plot could’ve been more concise and the exposition pared back just a little as the pace did slow considerably in the first and middle portions of the book. But, if you love a slowburn, detail orientated fantasy then I do recommend you check this one out. Also thanks to Rebellion Publishing and Netgalley for the e-arc.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carolina

    I have a hard time giving up and DNF books, especially when I think they can still get better. Even if they don’t. Saint Death’s Daughter had (and has) everything to be awesome, but we didn’t get to see it (yet). This book follows Miscellaneous ‘Lanie’ Stones, a necromancer born into a family of royal assassins, who is allergic to all sorts of violence and has a debt to pay to save her family home. Sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I was SO confused for the majority of the book I co I have a hard time giving up and DNF books, especially when I think they can still get better. Even if they don’t. Saint Death’s Daughter had (and has) everything to be awesome, but we didn’t get to see it (yet). This book follows Miscellaneous ‘Lanie’ Stones, a necromancer born into a family of royal assassins, who is allergic to all sorts of violence and has a debt to pay to save her family home. Sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I was SO confused for the majority of the book I couldn’t even properly enjoy the story. Right at the beginning we are introduced to twelve new months, seven new days of the week and fourteen new Gods. As if the author didn’t think that was enough to try to keep up with, she also introduced us to countless new characters, most of them which didn’t bring anything relevant to the story. We were introduced to around 10 new Stoneses, their story was briefly mentioned in a foot note (that’s how relevant it was; I gave up reading the 30+ footnotes after a while because they were mostly unimportant) and then we would never read about them again. Don’t even let me start on their names. There was so much info dump that I couldn’t properly grasp how the whole magic system and world building worked because, after reading so much insignificant stuff, my brain just seemed to retain information about the general outline of the story. Which was actually very interesting without all that. I started skipping most of the descriptive excerpts and reading only the dialogues, towards the last few chapters, and I don’t think I missed anything that crucial. The narrative was so dense it didn’t leave room to properly connect with the characters or root for any of them. The villains and all the magic surrounding them seemed awesome, but since I couldn’t understand most of it, I ended up not really caring about it as well. It seems like this could be the first book of a series, but I don’t think I will continue reading it. I received an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Rebellion, Solaris and Netgalley!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emma Cathryne

    Fun, whimsical, and macabre, Saint Death's Daughter reads like a glorious mashup of Gideon the Ninth and the Addam's Family. Miscellaneous "Lanie" Stones is a necromancer born into a storied household of wizards with a passion for death, nearly all of whom have died dramatically before their time (Cooney details the erstwhile family tree in hilarious little footnotes that read like tombstones in Disney World's Haunted Mansion). Lanie and her odd mixture of family, both blood and found, must cont Fun, whimsical, and macabre, Saint Death's Daughter reads like a glorious mashup of Gideon the Ninth and the Addam's Family. Miscellaneous "Lanie" Stones is a necromancer born into a storied household of wizards with a passion for death, nearly all of whom have died dramatically before their time (Cooney details the erstwhile family tree in hilarious little footnotes that read like tombstones in Disney World's Haunted Mansion). Lanie and her odd mixture of family, both blood and found, must contend with the ominous threat of the Blackbird Queen Bran Fiakhna and her polycule of shapeshifting wizard spouses to save each other and preserve their nation. The world-building, while brilliant, can get a bit elaborate and hard to follow at times. Similarly, the prose is rich with adjectives and adverbs that give add plenty of quirky embellishment but sometimes lead to discursiveness that distracts from the plot. The magic system was fascinating, but I wish we'd been able to explore the other godly magic in more detail. I feel well-versed on necromancy, fire-magic and fascination (a type of magical compulsion), but when I'm being tantalized by wizard's who can slow time, create illusions, and turn invisible, it is hard not to crave more information. Which gods do their magic stem from? How is it similar or different from Lanie or Mak's magic? Generally, my main issue was this misplacement of detail: for example: contrary to the above, Cooney spends basically a whole chapter elaborating on Lanie's love for a couple of resurrected mouse skeletons,. The true heart of this story, however, is the relationships between Lanie and her family. Whether it is the tense tutorship of Grandpa Rad, the solemn devotion of Goody Graves, or the childish fire of Sacred Datura Stones, this story shines when it is imparting meaning into Lanie's relationships, both living and dead. These moments of connection keep what can sometimes become a fairly grim story grounded in tenderness and humor.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jacq.and.the.readstalk

    This gives off major classic Disney Halloween vibes! A whimsical fantasy that is utterly charming, complex, and unique Saint Death's Daughter is an elaborate story - which did get confusing at times. At the beginning I had no idea what was going on, but slowly began to catch on. It's light compared to most adult fantasy book which I found to be refreshing. The Stone's family tree is whimsical, detailed, and interesting. The characters are fun and charming, just as colourful and quirky as their nam This gives off major classic Disney Halloween vibes! A whimsical fantasy that is utterly charming, complex, and unique Saint Death's Daughter is an elaborate story - which did get confusing at times. At the beginning I had no idea what was going on, but slowly began to catch on. It's light compared to most adult fantasy book which I found to be refreshing. The Stone's family tree is whimsical, detailed, and interesting. The characters are fun and charming, just as colourful and quirky as their names suggest. I am obsessed with all of their names! The world and its history is so detailed and thought out, and the family tree is so fascinating and comprehensive. it is clear that the author has put her heart into the narrative and characters with considerable thought and meticulous execution. However, it is so damn long!! Over 1000+ 'pages' on my Kindle, and also making it drag at times. That being said I am still very much interested in finding out what happens next in this delightfully eccentric story. Thank you to Netgalley and Rebellion, Solaris for this eARC in exchange for an honest review

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sharvani

    2.5 starts rounded down Thank you NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. Content warnings: animal abuse and dismemberment, child neglect, child torture, spousal captivity, mutilation Here's how I feel about the early excitement about the book. Goodreads says this is a YA fantasy romance (The publisher did not share that with me, they rightly claim it is a fantasy book, but I feel it is important to point this out early in my review, as mo 2.5 starts rounded down Thank you NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. Content warnings: animal abuse and dismemberment, child neglect, child torture, spousal captivity, mutilation Here's how I feel about the early excitement about the book. Goodreads says this is a YA fantasy romance (The publisher did not share that with me, they rightly claim it is a fantasy book, but I feel it is important to point this out early in my review, as most audiences might discover it through Goodreads, and many users have shelved this as a romance). But I think this book is not suitable for most YA readers due to the some gory and graphic content in it, and that the romance and the love interest, while present, are not at the forefront of this story. Let me clarify that there is some romance, and there is a love interest, but if you ask me what this story was about a couple of days or weeks from today, then I would say it's a story about found family and acceptance of death, as well as learning from the transgressions of our predecessors, and being considerate enough to not commit them. This story starts one way, but develops into absolutely something else. Our protagonist - Lanie Stones - from a prominent family, makes contact with her sister, Nita, when their parents and aunt have passed away, and she realises that she has inherited their debts, and she can either pay them back, which she has no way of doing, or marry one of the sons of the person who is owed so much money. Lanie doesn't have a great relationship with her biological family. She has absentee parents, a sister she doesn't exactly see eye to eye with, and most of her knowledge of her necromancy is derived from her grandfather Rad - a ghost stuck in a sarcophagus - who is as heartless as he is empathetic, and as selfish and entitled as she is compassionate and generous with others. What I thought was a story about Lanie and Nita trying to pay their debts back evolved into a long story spanning many years in Lanie's life, detailing the relationships she has along the way. I will first talk about the three things done well in this book so that readers with different tastes can find this review useful as well: 1. There is pretty inventive sass employed in the dialogue in the first few chapters, something I always enjoy. I won't lie, I even highlighted some of these passages on my kindle. 2. The relationship between Lanie and the revenant who raised her, and moments between them were quite touching. Lanie's determination and desperation to fulfil her promise to Goody were so well written that I kept reading chapter after chapter, if only to know what happened with that plotline. This is probably the sole reason I have rated this book as high as I have. 3. Though I love very well written characters, I found the bits where the author explained the protagonists family history and the history of her country extremely enjoyable. The footnotes at the end of the chapter were a solid plus, and reminded me of The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, a series I very much devoured in my teenage years. Unfortunately, I have more issues with this book: 1. The reader is dumped into the world and not a lot is explained satisfactorily. While this works for many advanced fantasy books, it feels like there is a lack of clarity here, especially when the author throws many strange names into the initial pages faster than I could process them, along with new names for every month. There is no infodump, which I definitely appreciate, but it took me a while to realise what was going on. 2. This lack of clarity also extends to the progression of the story. It's one thing to have nice interesting tidbits in the story, but then for the most part, I did not really know what this story was about. 3. I think I only realised there was a romance in this book because I was told (by Goodreads) it's a romance, but I see more love in other relationships than that with the supposed love interest. Of course, this is entirely subjective. I thought that there were some sweet moments between Lanie and Canon Lir, but there was a tiny twist in the end that had me questioning if I would call the relationship a romance. Or rather, why does this feeble attempt at romance even exist? 4. This is a long, long book. I think a more compact version of the same story would pack a better reading experience. 5. The narrative wasn't smooth AT ALL in the beginning (I would suggest that you try to power through it to see if this story is really for you. It gets better). There was just a lot of fancy wording that wasn't really adding much to the prose. But, do not let my review put you off reading this book. A negative reading experience is subjective, and I think that the author has great potential, and this book might just be what a niche audience of attentive advanced fantasy readers will adore. Instagram | Twitter

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    This book is a bear. There are so many things to keep track of: new months, days, gods/goddesses, places, and characters. There are footnotes about historical events and characters that don't really matter to the main story. They're funny, but in a story with so much going on, it just made me more confused. I applaud the author for diving so deep into the world, but this should be scaled back a bit so things aren't as bogged down. Maybe some of these characters we could learn about in the sequel This book is a bear. There are so many things to keep track of: new months, days, gods/goddesses, places, and characters. There are footnotes about historical events and characters that don't really matter to the main story. They're funny, but in a story with so much going on, it just made me more confused. I applaud the author for diving so deep into the world, but this should be scaled back a bit so things aren't as bogged down. Maybe some of these characters we could learn about in the sequel? The main character is Miscellaneous "Lainey" Stones. What I liked most about her is that she sometimes makes mistakes, chooses wrong, and needs to learn to stand up against others. It made her more real and relatable and her love for her family helps show that Lainey is trying her best. I also thought Lainey's niece Datu was a funny character, even when she wasn't trying to be. She's very ambitious and always up for a story about past Stones family members and what they got up to. There were parts I didn't quite understand because there's an overload of information. There's a lot of information and some names and titles I struggled to pronounce. I did think it was a fun book overall and maybe listening to an audio of it would be helpful. I am still interested in what the sequel will contain and maybe now that I have the layout of everything, it will be an easier read. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Solaris and NetGalley for the copy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    This was an absolute gem of a book! I don't make comparisons to Gideon the Ninth (or its sequel) lightly- but this absolutely has the same strange, beautiful, disgusting, messy love of life and death in all its forms permeating through every word. Lanie Stones is a wonderfully realised character (how fantastic to have a necromancer who is in love with life as well as death!) and her world is as detailed and well thought out as she is. That last thing is what worried me going into this book- I lo This was an absolute gem of a book! I don't make comparisons to Gideon the Ninth (or its sequel) lightly- but this absolutely has the same strange, beautiful, disgusting, messy love of life and death in all its forms permeating through every word. Lanie Stones is a wonderfully realised character (how fantastic to have a necromancer who is in love with life as well as death!) and her world is as detailed and well thought out as she is. That last thing is what worried me going into this book- I loved the ideas and imagery in Cooney's Desdemona and the Deep but found the plot and characters a bit undercooked. This is something that Saint Death's Daughter absolutely corrects. There were several developments that I didn't seecoming at all but made absolute sense in the context of the characters and their world, and by the end I felt like I knew Lanie, Lir, Mak and Datu like old friends. It's a beautiful book, honestly. I'm going to buy a hard copy when it comes out, and it's going to sit alongside The Goblin Emperor as one of my all time comfort reads. Thank you!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I am biased toward CSE Cooney's prose, for it is beautiful and intricate and glowing and I love it so. This book made me fall in love with her characters, too, particularly Lanie, who goes through rapid growth and an emotional roller-coaster over the course of this book that had me crying and flinging the book across the room. Only good things for Lanie from now on, PLEASE. This book is full--not really dense, but detailed and worthy of full attention given to it. It's no less complex and necrom I am biased toward CSE Cooney's prose, for it is beautiful and intricate and glowing and I love it so. This book made me fall in love with her characters, too, particularly Lanie, who goes through rapid growth and an emotional roller-coaster over the course of this book that had me crying and flinging the book across the room. Only good things for Lanie from now on, PLEASE. This book is full--not really dense, but detailed and worthy of full attention given to it. It's no less complex and necromantic than Gideon the Ninth, only with a historic, second-world fantasy lens over it instead of a weird sci-fi fantasy one. For that strange cross-section of readers, like me, who find themselves loving both the softness and heart of something like Witchmark as well as the crunchy, juicy, dry wit and intensity of Gideon the Ninth, this book will most certainly tickle your fancy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I really liked this. 3.5 stars rounded up. It is, as many of the negative reviewers mention, quite long (it's funny how an e-arc can really turn that into a surprise) and took me longer than expected to read, but I found the writing lovely (mostly -- it did drag a bit towards the end). I also REALLY appreciated that the book is a contained work that left itself open to the possibility of a sequel, but did not end on a cliffhanger and is satisfying in and of itself. If there is a sequel, I would I really liked this. 3.5 stars rounded up. It is, as many of the negative reviewers mention, quite long (it's funny how an e-arc can really turn that into a surprise) and took me longer than expected to read, but I found the writing lovely (mostly -- it did drag a bit towards the end). I also REALLY appreciated that the book is a contained work that left itself open to the possibility of a sequel, but did not end on a cliffhanger and is satisfying in and of itself. If there is a sequel, I would read it. I received an e-arc from the publisher via Edelweiss in return for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Opal

    ~Thank you Netgalley and Rebellion Publishing for allowing me to receive an ARC of this book! 4⭐𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫 •The concept of this book had me enthralled right away and the lore and magic imbued in this world were stunning! 𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭 •The plot is the reason this book got docked. I felt it was slow or there wasn't much of a plot. I love fluffy parts of books and filler in some senses but I feel that this book just dragged on with no real stakes set very high. If this book was shortened, I feel it would've been a l ~Thank you Netgalley and Rebellion Publishing for allowing me to receive an ARC of this book! 4⭐𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫 •The concept of this book had me enthralled right away and the lore and magic imbued in this world were stunning! 𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭 •The plot is the reason this book got docked. I felt it was slow or there wasn't much of a plot. I love fluffy parts of books and filler in some senses but I feel that this book just dragged on with no real stakes set very high. If this book was shortened, I feel it would've been a lot better in plot and pacing, and it would definitely help the idea of there not being much of a plot. Besides this, the book was still good, just dragged. 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 • The author clearly spent a lot of time on developing characters and they did an amazing job at it. I got attached to most of the cast, and the unique races were very interesting to learn about. Development and actual human emotion was written so well in this story, and it was a key component in this story. 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 •This worldbuilding was DEEP and so so good. The different types of magic, rulers, courts, states, festivals, days of the week, etc, was all so fleshed out and is what really grabbed my interest. If the worldbuilding and characters were not this good I would have rated this lower due to the plot but they saved it and far exceeded my expectations for it. 𝐎𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐥 •This book was good. Long and slow, but still good. Improvements on pacing and plot could have been made but this is still a solid and interesting book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    fridge_brilliance

    With many thanks to #NetGalley for an advance copy of #SaintDeathsDaughter, which enabled me to read the book ahead it’s publication date and let you know that you should a b s o l u t e l y check it out, if you enjoy the Locked Tomb stories, Addams Family circus (with more heartwarmth than the opening chapters might suggest), and a healthy mixture of humorous and macabre in your SFF. A queer-by-default world, family values clashing with found families, a really colorful, lush and humane take on With many thanks to #NetGalley for an advance copy of #SaintDeathsDaughter, which enabled me to read the book ahead it’s publication date and let you know that you should a b s o l u t e l y check it out, if you enjoy the Locked Tomb stories, Addams Family circus (with more heartwarmth than the opening chapters might suggest), and a healthy mixture of humorous and macabre in your SFF. A queer-by-default world, family values clashing with found families, a really colorful, lush and humane take on necromancy, an unflinching portrayal of the price of violence and privilege and at the same time, a really over-the-top trashy sexy evil villainess, complete with her harem of wizards — so many things tossed into the mix, and the end result is a very gripping read. I swear, I was making noises along the lines of “I’ve no idea where this book is going” at 10, 20, 50 and 80% of the book and was so pleased to be stunned by plot twists up until the very last chapter. I admit I very rarely feel blindsided by the trajectory of the ride when I open the book, so I enjoyed very much when that happens. It’s not as breakneck as Harrow the Ninth, but it’s also a much warmer narrative, with compassion and craving for community that infuses its pages via the narrator. I enjoyed the snarky footnotes, found the glimpses of magic other than that of Lanie’s intriguing (and hope for more info on them on them in later books), and generally found the book an enjoyable ride.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hamda

    dnf Thank you NetGalley for the arc! I was super excited to read this book but right off the bat, I was introduced to a whole list of strange names. New names for every month of the year, every day in the week and 10+ gods and god knows what else. There was so much info-dumping and so many terms and characters that I didn't know and added absolutely nothing to the plot nor to the character's development. I had no idea what was happening there was so much going on and I am still so horribly confuse dnf Thank you NetGalley for the arc! I was super excited to read this book but right off the bat, I was introduced to a whole list of strange names. New names for every month of the year, every day in the week and 10+ gods and god knows what else. There was so much info-dumping and so many terms and characters that I didn't know and added absolutely nothing to the plot nor to the character's development. I had no idea what was happening there was so much going on and I am still so horribly confused.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    4.5 stars. Fantabulous! And that's what my impression of this book was for days after finishing this funny, frenetic, rich, and beautiful book. Miscellaneous "Lanie" Stones is a necromancer, from a long line of necromancers who work for a ruling Brackenwild family in Liriat (in Athe). Interestingly, though her family are assassins for the Brackenwilds, Lanie cannot tolerate being around violence: she experiences allergic symptoms ranging from sneezing to copious nosebleeds. Her elder sister (and l 4.5 stars. Fantabulous! And that's what my impression of this book was for days after finishing this funny, frenetic, rich, and beautiful book. Miscellaneous "Lanie" Stones is a necromancer, from a long line of necromancers who work for a ruling Brackenwild family in Liriat (in Athe). Interestingly, though her family are assassins for the Brackenwilds, Lanie cannot tolerate being around violence: she experiences allergic symptoms ranging from sneezing to copious nosebleeds. Her elder sister (and longterm bully) Aminita Stones takes on the family mantle after their parents and aunt are dead (maybe murdered) and the sisters are saddled with their relatives massive debts. Nita secures a longterm contract with the Brackenwilds to murdering the twenty four wizards of Queen Bran Fiakhna of a neighbouring land. On one of her trips back home. Nita brings a man back with her, Mac, whom she has kidnapped and glamoured into compliance, with the intent of using him to create the next generation of Stones. He's naturally furious about this. Some years later, Nita returns in a panic, and with the queen's wizards hot on her trail. Not only does Nita have herself to protect, but there's also her sister Lanie, her captive mate, and the next generation of Stones, her daughter (and scene stealer) Datu. Needless to say, things don't go as planned, and Lanie, Mac and NNNN go into hiding. At the same time, Lanie and Mac also want to give Datu the opportunity to spend time with other kids and to go to school. And that's the beginning of this big, gorgeous, detailed (did I forget, there are numerous footnotes(!) adding bits of context or history to a situation), and fantastic story. C.S.E. Cooney brings Lanie, Mac and Datu to glorious life, as well as a supporting cast of quirky individuals, and has Lanie work terrifically hard to keep Datu alive against assassination threats from the queen. Despite its length, the book's pacing is good, with events moving along nicely, and Lanie's evolution as shy daughter of the Stones, to a caring aunt and sister-in-law, a powerful necromancer, and a friend to this small family's circle. I loved this book so much, and struggled to articulate how I felt about this effervescent, bright and totally enjoyable book. Thank you to Netgalley and to Solaris for this ARC in exchange for my review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This was an immensely original and creative story with excellent world building. It’s a story of found family and magic, necromancy and ghosts. The author has quite a way with names for her characters. My only complaint would be the length of the story- I’m pretty sure it could have been shorter! Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carola

    Review to come

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lena (Sufficiently Advanced Lena)

    Actual rating : 3.75? I think? What was even this book? Cohesive review coming this week

  21. 5 out of 5

    Taylor (Virginia Woolf’s Actual Wife)

    Okay I do think that got a little bogged down in the middle but overall I had a good time. Love me a little gay necromancer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Holly (The GrimDragon)

    This isn't holding my attention, which I so desperately need right now. The constant barrage of information bogged down any chance the storytelling had of flowing. DNF @ Page 123. This isn't holding my attention, which I so desperately need right now. The constant barrage of information bogged down any chance the storytelling had of flowing. DNF @ Page 123.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becca (Horners_book_corner)

    Saint Death's Daughter was a great read - for me it felt like the (threeway) love child of Discworld, Gideon the Ninth and Nevernight, with less cussing and more bones and science textbook terminology. It took me a little longer than usualy to read due to COVID zapping my bandwidth, but this is no reflection of this brilliantly dark and intriguing book. Saint Death's Daughter was a great read - for me it felt like the (threeway) love child of Discworld, Gideon the Ninth and Nevernight, with less cussing and more bones and science textbook terminology. It took me a little longer than usualy to read due to COVID zapping my bandwidth, but this is no reflection of this brilliantly dark and intriguing book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    FantasyBookNerd

    Saint Death’s Daughter is one of those books that piqued my interest from the moment I heard about it. The story revolves around (soon to come into her necromantic powers) Miscellaneous, or Lanie, Stones. When we meet Lanie Stones, she is a 15 year old teenager whose parents are quite dead. She comes from the fantastically (in)famous Stones family, whose family have held the postitions of Royal Executioner & Royal Assassin throughout the history of the country of Liriat. In addition to that she c Saint Death’s Daughter is one of those books that piqued my interest from the moment I heard about it. The story revolves around (soon to come into her necromantic powers) Miscellaneous, or Lanie, Stones. When we meet Lanie Stones, she is a 15 year old teenager whose parents are quite dead. She comes from the fantastically (in)famous Stones family, whose family have held the postitions of Royal Executioner & Royal Assassin throughout the history of the country of Liriat. In addition to that she comes from a family who are famous Necromancers, and she is born to her gift and is purported to become the most powerful necromancer of her age. However, she suffers from a slight setback in that she is allergic to death. Not only death, but any form of mal intent, which is a major disability in a family that worships and lives for death. We are introduced to the world of the Stones family in the form of a letter, when Lanie writes to her sister Amanita (Nita) Muscaria Stones informing her of her precarious position and the fact that their parents have left them virtually destitute and owing debts and that their creditor Sari Scratch is demanding that their debts be paid, or marry one of her three sons Scratten, Cracchen or Hatchet Scratch. The story quickly moves on to Lanie’s sister Nita swooping in from her assigned task of finding a mate to produce a progeny to continue the Stones’s line. She arrives at the Stones manor with her man (who happens to be able to turn into a hawk and is enslaved by a magical gauntlet on Nita’s arm) and they subsequently try to offset the debts that are owed to Sari Scratch. Nita believes that she can a) use her magic to alter the original contract by using her charm magic or b) fill her parents shoes by becoming the Royal executioner and assassin. However, there are some political games being played and the plan does not come to fruition. As a result, the queen employs her for a special task of assassinating the Blackbird Bride and the parliament of Rooks in retaliation for killing her parents (whose father also happened to be the Queens bit on the side). I don’t know what I was expecting with Saint Death’s Daughter, but what I got was a darkly madcap and macabre tale of assassins, undead, ghosts with a bit of romance thrown in. The prose is completely off the wall with lots of made up terminology and there are various footnotes explaining the history of the Stones family and it’s eccentric members of the clan throughout its history. In all honesty, I found Saint Death’s Daughter utterly delightful. The prose meanders all over the place, and at times reminded me Jane Austin, with its play on manners and society, with the macabre sense of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, chucked in for good measure. In addition to that it has that kind of gothic edge to it, which was also reminiscent of The Addams Family. Especially when Datu is introduced to the story, who is Lanie’s niece, and at the age of six is obsessed with killing and goes to bed with a toy trebuchet. And then there is Goody Graves, the revenant who is tied to the family and literally brought up Lanie. and happens to be a bit like Lurch. I have to say that I don’t really know how to explain this book. It is wonderfully original and I must say that I have absolutely fallen for its bizarre charm, because it is such a charming book. I know that some people may not get along with it, but me? I just straight out and out loved it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Donna Bull

    Thanks to Rebellion Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC. 3.75/5 stars Well, this story is just a bit mad isn't it?? I will admit it's hard to fathom where to begin and definitely sure my words won't measure up, but here we go. This story is a fantastical combination of dark magic, whimsy, coming of age, found family, eccentric, odd characters and many, many skeletons. Our protagonist is Miscellaneous "Lanie" Stones, whose family serves as royal assassins, but Lanie is allergic to killing and viol Thanks to Rebellion Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC. 3.75/5 stars Well, this story is just a bit mad isn't it?? I will admit it's hard to fathom where to begin and definitely sure my words won't measure up, but here we go. This story is a fantastical combination of dark magic, whimsy, coming of age, found family, eccentric, odd characters and many, many skeletons. Our protagonist is Miscellaneous "Lanie" Stones, whose family serves as royal assassins, but Lanie is allergic to killing and violence, but is excellent at bringing the dead back to life. Honestly, this book to a while to get into, but I was glad I stuck with it. There is a lot to take in, it's complex and trying to keep track of all the family members with their wondrous names takes effort. Once Lanie, Mak and Datu leave Stones Manor is really where it took off for me and kept me reading. It truly is a unique story with so much imagination and creativity. I will certainly be looking forward to the next book!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    nati

    dnf 19% i really wanted to love this but i got to (almost) 20% and i am still confused about everything and just can’t get into the story, no matter how hard i try. I just can’t connect to the writing style. It is way too lyrical and has too lengthy descriptions. i’m amazed by the complex and impressive worldbuilding however it was too easy to lose track on what is what which made it too confusing to me. It also read way too childish for my liking. It’s definitely rather for younger ya readers or dnf 19% i really wanted to love this but i got to (almost) 20% and i am still confused about everything and just can’t get into the story, no matter how hard i try. I just can’t connect to the writing style. It is way too lyrical and has too lengthy descriptions. i’m amazed by the complex and impressive worldbuilding however it was too easy to lose track on what is what which made it too confusing to me. It also read way too childish for my liking. It’s definitely rather for younger ya readers or maybe even middle grade idk But I can imagine that if u like the writing style that it can be a good book and if u want to read it, it would be perfect for spooky season! (Thank u netgalley for the e-arc!)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Love. Love love love love. I don't have anything articulate to say about it, at least not yet. But I was both glad to have the ebook version--because it has been years since I have had to look up so many words in a book (be still, my heart)--and also I finished it and immediately ordered a hardcover copy because I love it and want it on my shelves. I have boggled at the author's worldbuilding in shorter work and approached her first full-length novel cautiously, wondering if the transition to lo Love. Love love love love. I don't have anything articulate to say about it, at least not yet. But I was both glad to have the ebook version--because it has been years since I have had to look up so many words in a book (be still, my heart)--and also I finished it and immediately ordered a hardcover copy because I love it and want it on my shelves. I have boggled at the author's worldbuilding in shorter work and approached her first full-length novel cautiously, wondering if the transition to longer form would work on the first try, but the caution was unwarranted and C.S.E. Cooney is now on the list of authors whose every work I have to read, probably multiple times. I fell in love with the author over her contribution to A Sinister Quartet, published by Mythic Delirium, and this is as different from that work as all her short stories seem to be from one another, and as loveable.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Thea

    Thank you so much to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book! I was quite excited to start reading Saint Death’s Daughter, because the premise was interesting and it sounded like the kind of dark fantasy novel I would like to read. However, I’m sad to say that this book really wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. I think that I have never before read a book that felt like so much work to read. I think that my main issue with this book Thank you so much to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book! I was quite excited to start reading Saint Death’s Daughter, because the premise was interesting and it sounded like the kind of dark fantasy novel I would like to read. However, I’m sad to say that this book really wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. I think that I have never before read a book that felt like so much work to read. I think that my main issue with this book was the huge amount or world-building. I must mention that I absolutely adore good world-building, especially in fantasy books, however I feel like in Saint Death’s Daughter it was overdone. All the information that was provided just got exhausting and hard to understand/keep track of. Throughout the book you are constantly being introduced to new characters, some which aren’t even relevant to the storyline, not to mention the fact that their names are quite hard to remember. Also the extensive footnotes make it even harder to actually get into the book and care about the storyline. Most of the time, I just felt very lost and confused and I think that that contributed greatly to why I didn’t enjoy this book. I think that C.S.E Cooney had an amazing idea when she built this world, it’s wonderful that she knows so much about it, unfortunately I feel like all the details made the book an exhausting read. The narrative was so complex and filled with facts about the magic system, that it was just incredibly hard to connect with any of the characters. I loved the fact that the main character’s name was Miscellaneous, I find that funny and unique, however after reading the book I feel as if I still don’t know her and don’t care much about her story which honestly makes me sad. Overall, this book was just a lot to take in. I admire the fact that the author has managed to create such an intricate world, but it was just too dense for me. All this being said, I am sure that there are people who will enjoy reading this book and that just goes to show that everyone has different tastes and that there will always be a book out there that you are bound to enjoy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beca ☾

    I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. DNF at 15% I really wanted to like this but it feels like work to read. There is just a constant barge of information that prevented me for getting into the book. I picked it up a couple times just to make sure, because the blurb sounds so great, but that wasn’t the case.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    I could tell immediately that this book's humor was an exact match for mine. The near-extinct, flowery vocabulary for mundane or absurd situations, the ridiculous names, and the range of juvenile to academic jokes kept me laughing and on my toes. It's just delightful. I love a fantasy that doesn't take itself seriously, and I especially adore one that has mastered the obscure art of humorous footnotes. And yet, the author packs in some impressive world-building that any serious fantasy reader wil I could tell immediately that this book's humor was an exact match for mine. The near-extinct, flowery vocabulary for mundane or absurd situations, the ridiculous names, and the range of juvenile to academic jokes kept me laughing and on my toes. It's just delightful. I love a fantasy that doesn't take itself seriously, and I especially adore one that has mastered the obscure art of humorous footnotes. And yet, the author packs in some impressive world-building that any serious fantasy reader will enjoy: a full pantheon of gods, a world with multiple, defined cultures not bound by overused archetypes, a type of magic attuned to feast days through a unique calendar, and magic both academic and experiential that jumps off the page and engages the mind. These and other thoughtful elements support a story of breathtaking scope and detail. This is the story of Miscellaneous (Lanie) Stones, a necromancer raised (loosely speaking) by an executioner and assassin, born to a long line of Stoneses that have served the royal Brackenwilds with viciousness and pride. Lanie's merry family of murderers is a literal pox on her existence since her necromancy comes with a physical allergy to violence. Witnessing, hearing about, or even proximity to an intent to do harm results in an echo pain in Lanie that can be debilitating, a fact that her cruel older sister exploits with glee. This is the story of Lanie coming into her own as a magician, as a person, and as a member of a found family of her choosing. She experiences profound loss and steep challenges, but I was also impressed by the many kindnesses and unconditional love of many flavors that pepper the plot. There is weary suffering, warm compassion, and welcoming joy to take readers on a true emotional journey. This book is a queer wonderland, which we love to see. Sexuality and gender are celebrated as fluid and personal throughout the book. Love is freely given and received in its many forms with no greater weight given to romantic or physical connection, platonic or chosen family bond. Poly relationships of various types are common and accepted. Lanie's main love interest is a fire priest who uses they/them pronouns. Gender roles either aren't present or aren't restricting. In other words, it's a rainbow down to its bones from the characters to the world they inhabit, not an example of tokenism or surface-level representation. I have so many feelings at the end of this book because of my deep connection with the characters and my love of their varied relationships. The humor, world, and plot are stunning, dazzling works of art. I can't wait to see what happens next in the series and embrace Lanie and her found family again. Thanks to Rebellion Publishing for my copy of this phenomenal book to read and review!

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