If you’ve been searching for a YA fantasy debut with fabulous characters who are forced to sacrifice and betray – then check out Seven Faceless Saints. This is one of my most anticipated books of 2023 and I’m so glad I was able to read it early! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.
After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit… and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.
Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
My favorite element of Seven Faceless Saints is tied between the characters and the themes. I knew from the beginning I’d love Rossana, her anger, her hatred of her power, and her determination. She was a character I knew from the premise alone that I would love. And I did. She makes difficult decisions in a system that so clearly doesn’t care about the lives of those lost. And even though she has power now, she can see the ways in which power only cares about power.
Whereas Damian has been so thoroughly convinced that his sacrifices are just a natural part of the system. That it’s his duty, his responsibility, his fate. Additionally, both Damian and Rossana are so shaken, so changed by their experiences with the war. The lives they have taken from us without caring about the individual toll. The families broken apart. And how Damian’s been scarred by his experiences, the loss of his friends, and the violence. Yet still, he’s unable to divorce that sense of wrongness from his duty.
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And sometimes we need someone to shake us out of that mindset. Because that’s the mindset that keeps the wheels of power and inequality turning. And that’s the other piece of the puzzle. In Seven Faceless Saints, I loved the world building. This society who cares about the powerful, embroiled in a war that has cost too many lives, and with forgotten saints. The writing of the world is expansive and it’s so easy to get a clear picture of crumbling ruins and kindling flames. I cannot wait for the sequel because I may have screeched a bit at the end.
Seven Faceless Saints manages to be thought provoking, while also delivered action and moral exploration. It’s about rebellion and mistakes, forgiveness and consequences. Find Seven Faceless Saints on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.