ARC provided by Quercus in exchange for an honest review.
“What do you call a judge sitting on a throne? […] A fucking tyrant, that’s what.”
I’ve been staring at this word document for far too long, because I simply do not have the words to describe how much I love this book and this series. Nothing I could say, and no word combination I could created, would do this series justice, but I suppose I should at least try.
“From nothing we become men and women who write poems and wage wars and conceive of futures both wondrous and terrifying.”
In my opinion, this is the closest thing to perfection in adult fantasy. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about these four books, and as apprehensive as I felt about Sebastien de Castell finally writing a conclusion for this series that I love, he proved that he could do that perfectly as well.
I’ve never rooted for any character of any book like I’ve rooted for these three men:
➽ Brasti Goodbow – The King’s Arrow, the Queen’s Jest, the funniest character in all of literature, and the kindest soul in all of Tristia.
➽ Kest Murrowson – The King’s Sword, the Queen’s Shield, the moral compass, the always knowledgeable bookworm, and the little cinnamon roll that’s too good for this world.
➽ Falcio val Mond – The King’s Heart, my freakin’ heart, the leader, the lover, that smartass, the clever fool, the main protagonist, and maybe the best character ever written.
Like you’ve probably heard a million times before, these three make up a very Three Musketeers like group, that travels through this country named Tristia, trying to keep their dead king’s dream alive. Upon their king’s death, he gave them each a secret mission to completely once he was dead. We learn of Falcio’s right away in Traitor’s Blade, and from there we are lead on an amazing journey filled with duels, wars, deceptions, politics, betrayals, twists, turns, love, and everything in between.
“The problem with games of war is that they’re deceptive precisely because they presume that there are rules to be followed. But this is Tristia, after all, and corruption runs deep in the bone.”
Book four starts out in true Sebastien de Castell fashion, which is always in the most unexpected of ways, with our three beloved Greatcoats crashing a wedding performance in which another Greatcoat shows up to save the day, which totally just makes our Greatcoat’s day much harder. Then, in maybe more true Sebastien de Castell fashion, this ends up being a parallel for the entire book.
This book also answers a lot of questions from the other three books, too. Like where the remaining Greatcoats have gone, and what King Paelis asked of the other Greatcoats. Like what Trist has been truly up to. And, probably most importantly, how are the Greatcoats going to reunite a country that is so very content with meagerly passing by?
“What if people didn’t need outdated heroics and idealism? What if they didn’t need Greatcoats at all? What if the one thing my country needed most to survive was a tyrant?”
It’s so very difficult to say much more without jumping into spoiler territory. This is the fourth and final installment in this series, and it ripped my heart out and left me crying for the last couple hundred pages, but it was everything I wanted. This series means so very much to me, and I’ve never loved another fantasy series quite like I love Greatcoats.
This series is so special and unique, with meaningful lesson after lesson on the importance of being kind and being good and to be just to other human beings. And that your past will never define who you can be. And how important friendship is, and how selflessly loving others is the most powerful gift you’ll ever have in this life. And that regardless of luck, you can make a difference, always.
“It comes down to a choice between Law and Justice –and they are two very different things, Falcio, despite how hard you’ve tried to unite them.”
In my opinion, this series deserves just as much credit, praise, and adoration, if not more so, than The Kingkiller Chronicle, ASOIAF, Mistborn, and all the other popular high fantasy that is constantly talked about and loved and celebrated. And I love all of those too, but I love Greatcoats more.
Please give this series a try, it’s truly masterpiece that I wish I could share with everyone I know. This final book comes out June 6th for us Americans and it is so very deserving of the recent hype it has received on Goodreads.
“And so ends Tristia, once the very pinnacle of culture and civilization, dissipating in misery while the great Falcio val Mond rushes across the land in search of anyone in a long coat who happens to share his fanatical devotion to a dead King’s dream.”
Okay, I can’t resist writing a spoiler section where I incoherently gush about my babies. Please do not continue on if you haven’t completed this series! MAJOR SPOILERS ahead!
“Ah, that’s the thing about people like you and me, Falcio: our curse is to keep living, when those we love best die”
➽ Aline – I have never wept for a character the way I have for Aline. If I had to give a complaint about this book, it would not be that Sebastien de Castell decided to kill her, it would be that he brought her back for just my heart to heal a tiny amount, only to then break in a way I never thought possible over fictional characters. Like, I’m crying writing this paragraph, that’s how messed up this book made me.
“I tried to imagine what it must be like, to be young, beginning to see your own talents emerging, to see the world full of possibility –and yet have to set that aside, to prepare yourself for a marriage whose only purpose would be to ensure you never fully met your own potential. To consign yourself to be less than you could be in order to satisfy the machinations of old men.”
➽ Monster – And then Monster coming back to take Falcio and the Tailor to bury Aline? Please, God, make these tears stop. AND SHE HAD FOULS? LITTLE FAE HORSE BABIES? Please, just, take all my money and make me a book about them. Seriously, how perfect.
➽ Trin – Girl, where did you go? And how are you my favorite villain of all time? Everything Trin does makes so much sense, while she also does nothing without reason. She wants to love so desperately, she was just never taught how to. Like, I love Trin. I know I shouldn’t, but my heart just breaks for her. I hope Sebastien de Castell comes back to this world soon, because I hate having resolution with everyone but Trin.
➽ Fillian – I read this book feeling like Fillian would perhaps get his own spin-off. And even though I hated Aline’s death, I loved the conversations of misogyny that Fillian becoming King (so easily) brought up. I mean, Fillian proved he would put his country first, I just feel like he is too mysterious for us to not learn a lot more about, eventually.
➽ Chalmers – And once Chalmers got appointed First Cantor, I couldn’t help but fully believe in a spin-off. I mean, maybe it is just a sweet ending, and Lord knows that Chalmers deserved that rank after what she had proven of herself during the war, but I still feel like we are going to learn a lot about her and her new king, Fillian.
➽ Darriana – God, I just love Darriana. Not only is she completely badass and always takes matters into her own hands, she somehow wormed her way into Brasti’s heart and he into hers. I loved that is going to reform the Dashini into what it should and could have been from the start. I only hope her and Brasti get a spin-off telling about their adventures and their love together.
➽ Tommer, God of Valour – Be still, my heart. Honestly, seeing the Gods of Love, Death, and Valour show up honestly broke me. I thought I couldn’t contain my tears during Aline’s death? Oh was I a sweet summer child.
➽ Jillard – Jillard was one of my favorite characters, but I knew he was living on borrowed time as soon as Tommer died in Saint’s Blood, but can we talk about his character development? I mean, what a perfectly crafted and written character, who was able to evoke every emotion of the spectrum from me.
➽ The Tailor – I know the Tailor isn’t the most beloved character of this series, but when I think about everything she has lost, and continued to lose, my heart becomes so very heavy for her. Another perfectly executed and morally grey character.
➽ Morn – The King’s Backstabber. Also, Sebastien de Castell’s twists and turns will never cease to surprise me.
➽ Nehra – I loved her and the rest of the Bardatti. Whenever I play or watch D&D, Bards are always the class that wins me over with minimal effort, and I fell in love with the Bardattis just as easy. I loved the impact of their war song, and I loved the message that music can change the world. I hope there is a heavy emphasis on them and their tales in future books.
➽ Feltock – I honestly was not expect this cameo at all, but it was so very welcoming. I loved the disabled representation, especially in a believable war setting from an actual war general. Feltock was such a wonderful addition to the ending of this book, and I am so very thankful for him and his impact on the war.
➽ Valiana – Valiana kind of missed the mark for me in this book. Like, I didn’t have a problem with her, but I constantly wanted her to show Falcio she loved him and viewed him as her father, but instead she constantly acted ungrateful towards him. And I get that it was completely sad and unfair that she was lied to all her life, but then she just accepts taking Jillard’s name and happily rules her new Duchy. I don’t know, it just feels sort of bad.
➽ Ethalia – Okay, I agree, her being pregnant with Falcio’s baby (girl, too) at the end was a little cheesy. But hell, after seeing Falcio finally say he was lucky after all the torment, suffering, and heartbreak he had to endure through his journey, I am happy for him. I am so very happy for him.
“My name is Falcio val Mond. I might just be the luckiest man who ever lived.”
Brasti becomes a Rangieri, Kest becomes a knight, and Falcio becomes a father. You know, I honestly didn’t see this ending coming, but I loved it all the same. These characters have become part of who I am as a person, and I will cherish this amazing quartet for as long as I live, while I sing its praises to every book lover I come in contact with. I can’t wait to see what adventure Sebastien de Castell embarks us on next!