Review: A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Series: The Song of the Shattered Sands #3
Also by this author: Twelve Kings in Sharakhai
Published by Daw Books on March 20th 2018
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Also in this series: Twelve Kings in Sharakhai
The third book in The Song of Shattered Sands series—an epic fantasy with a desert setting, filled with rich worldbuilding and pulse-pounding action.
Since the Night of Endless Swords, a bloody battle the Kings of Sharakhai narrowly won, the kings have been hounding the rebels known as the Moonless Host. Many have been forced to flee the city, including Çeda, who discovers that the King of Sloth is raising his army to challenge the other kings' rule.
When Çeda finds the remaining members of the Moonless Host, now known as the thirteenth tribe, she sees a tenuous existence. Çeda hatches a plan to return to Sharakhai and free the asirim, the kings' powerful, immortal slaves. The kings, however, have sent their greatest tactician, the King of Swords, to bring Çeda to justice for her crimes.
But the once-unified front of the kings is crumbling. The surviving kings vie quietly against one another, maneuvering for control over Sharakhai. Çeda hopes to use that to her advantage, but whom to trust? Any of them might betray her.
As Çeda works to lift the shackles from the asirim and save the thirteenth tribe, the kings of Sharakhai, the scheming queen of Qaimir, the ruthless blood mage, Hamzakiir, and King of Swords all prepare for a grand clash that may decide the fate of all.
A Veil of Spears continues the fantastical excitement I’ve grown to expect from this series, starting immediately from where With Blood Upon the Sand left off. If ever there was an under read, under recommended series, I really think this is it. It has so much to offer and is so well written, I am always surprised I don’t hear it discussed more. Reading this book just reinforced that.
The Moonless Host has taken a huge hit, but instead of giving up, Çeda devises a plan to try and deal another blow to the Kings, one that might not require so much manpower. Çeda is squarely in the sites of the kings as a threat, and so she needs to evade them while also continuing to scheme against them. The one thing she has going for her is that the kings no longer all trust each other. Divisions are forming, and if they don’t stand and work together, then taking them down will be, if not yet easy, at least less daunting. The divisions can create opportunities, which Çeda can not afford to not take.
Since there are more moving parts, all of which have been set up very well, I felt like there is less focus on Çeda’s personal quest for vengeance in this book. Honestly, focusing solely on that might get old and start to feel artificial, so this is a good thing. But the side effect is that it also feels less personal. I am so invested in Çeda and love feeling her motivations for everything. And I am in no way suggesting there is not still plenty of Çeda in this, or that she has lost sight of her original goal of taking down the kings. Just that more people, more political intrigue make it a more complex story. Which, again, is a good thing. I just also always enjoyed Çeda’s quest (which is still there, just maybe not quite as much the central fixture or motivation). This story goes beyond Çeda even if she is a leading and central figure in everything. I still love Ceda’s story and still find her chapters to be my favorites, but I enjoy the others as well, and they provide pieces of the puzzle that are needed to really understand what is going on.
This book has amazing twists and reveals, and plenty of battle and action. The asirim play a critical role, and we still continue to learn more about them. There’s also more blood magic in this book. With every book in the series, we just learn more about this world, its politics and magic. Beaulieu handles the doling out of information very well, he doesn’t tend to state the obvious or spell everything out, but he gives the reader just enough information and just the right times for everything to make sense, without the reader feeling overwhelmed by causing information overload. Fans of the series will not be disappointed (and will be left wanting the next installment. This is just Book 3 of a 6 book series). I also want to mention, if you have read the first two books, but not the novella, Of Sand and Malice Made, I do highly recommend reading that as well.