Review – Sins of a Sovereignty by Simon (Plague Jack) Watts

Book Reviews

Epic fantasy – dark, bloody, and brutal

Sins of a Sovereignty

by simon (Plague jack) watts


From their prisons, the old gods watch, and wait.

Calcifer, the arrogant and obtuse sorcerer turned monster hunter, wants nothing more than to bleed his country of its gold, and return to his lover. When she is assaulted and her mind is left in tatters, Calcifer seeks vengeance by any means necessary.

Sir Clark Pendragon has murdered more men than he cares to remember. Tired and battle scarred, the old knight just wants to live out his last days in peace. When he is needed to stop an assassination, Pendragon is ripped from his retirement and sent north to save his country one final time.

Shrike, keeper of Amernia’s secrets, spends his days combing through letters in search of blackmail. Cunning, and with a mind sharper than a blade, Shrike’s luck is slowly running out, as sinister shadows conspire against him.

War is coming to Amernia, and the Blood Queen stands at the heart of the chaos. A wave of hatred ripples across her country, and she maintains order with fire and fear. The rift between rich and poor, human and nonhuman, divides the kingdom more everyday, as a spectral rider streaks across the sky, heralding the death of kings.

The fates of Calcifer, Pendragon, Shrike, and the Blood Queen are hopelessly intertwined, and new alliances will be forged and broken as war threatens to tear Amernia asunder.

My Thoughts

If you like your epic fantasy dark, bloody, and brutal, you really need to read Sins of a Sovereignty. If you enjoy guessing which character will be killed off next, you really, really need to pick up this book. The truth is, this is one of the most brutal, darkest books I’ve read in a while, but he does it so well.

Plague Jack (isn’t that the best author’s name ever?) has no fear of putting his plot, world, or characters through the ringer. However, despite that it only occasionally felt gratuitous. The fact that he stayed away from that gratuitous violence feel as much as he did impress me quite a bit.

Sins of a Sovereignty is different than just about anything else I’ve read in epic fantasy. It does have a sort of pseudo-European feel with royalty, lords and ladies. There is a queen and wars and whatever else that you’d expect in that sort of setting. The difference is in the details. There is magic, a sort of super weapon that has left all the major cities shrouded in fog, and characters that are a far cry from being heroes or really noteworthy at all.

The world itself felt like it was on the tipping point between what has been, and what will be. There is a very revolutionary vibe in the air, and things are obviously moving in numerous and unpredictable directions. Society is strained, and the characters we follow all show readers different dimensions of that change in ways that paint a really well rounded picture of the world and all of its intricate issues.

The plot is fast moving, and surprisingly addicting. It’s obvious from page one that nothing really is what it seems to be, and no one is who they say they are. Loyalties are tested, and people are divided as a world on the brink of war and inevitable change tips in some unexpected and surprising directions.

This is quite an intricate book, and there are a lot of layers and depth in these pages. The book itself is absolutely relentless and completely brutal, so readers should be aware of that before going into it. No one is safe here, and that’s part of the beauty of it. Plague Jack has created a fascinating world full of really dark, flawed characters, and he takes them to the absolute edge. I truly enjoyed how completely fearless the author was to do just about anything he could for the plot to progress.

Sins of a Sovereignty surprised me. It isn’t perfect, and the ending was rather open, which hints at more to come, but leaves it without any real resolution for readers. Sometimes it felt a little over-the-top, and some plot points seemed to leave some minor holes that could be picked at. There were some editing issues, and the ending really, in my estimation, was the biggest issue I had with the whole novel as it left almost no resolution for me and was almost completely open.

That being said, there are a lot of strengths in this novel. The writing was superb. The world was unique. The characters are delightfully flaws. The plot is addicting and unexpected. Sins of a Sovereignty was a huge surprise. Plague Jack created something quite noteworthy here. Fans of George R.R. Martin and various other bloody books where no one is safe should pay attention to this one.

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Sarah Chorn

Sarah has been a compulsive reader her whole life. At a young age, she found her reading niche in the fantastic genre of Speculative Fiction. She blames her active imagination for the hobbies that threaten to consume her life. She is a writer and editor, a semi-pro nature photographer, world traveler, three-time cancer survivor, and mom. In her ideal world, she’d do nothing but drink lots of tea and read from a never-ending pile of speculative fiction books.



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