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Audiobook Review - Priest of Crowns

The best series around for the last few years. Criminally underrated, in all fairness @ 5* with exquisite audiobooks. Damn shame it isn't completed in hardback, as from the reader aspect that is bloody annoying at half and half and an opportunity lost by the publisher.

The story oozes characters Thomas Piety and Bloody Anne stand out, Jochan and Billy the curve balls and Iagin and Rosie came fully into his own beyond the demon in gallows. It is no longer a city, or power manipulating the throne, but the nation. The surge in tension and stakes at play pull the strings on the characters. I was surprised at the break back to Ellinburg it seemed a distraction, which was the point at hand, with Vogel and foreign powers running their fingers into various pies, again and again. While Piety has been here before, the stakes have never been this high, as are consequences if they fail. Even when carving out success the consequences bite and hard. Not unexpected, but I was curious on the whom with every page all but oozing tension.

While Ellinburg was a sideshow, it set the stage for Piety vs Vogel. This is where the story dropped a star for me in concluding the series. I'm unsure whether it was excess editing, or the need to maintain pacing, but the tight story and characters in play didn't quite add up. Billy saw something and that remained unsaid. Illness conveniently took him out of play, but he did seem underused considering the stakes at play. Ailsa was AWOL and that didn't seem to set Piety, or Luka's bells ringing, and for all the grand plan in motion, Vogel left several threads unobserved and despite the brutality, he went to his fate somewhat easily for such a machiavellian central figure.

The plot twists when they land at the end arrive hard. Ailsa is explained and you do have to wonder for Piety, whether he would think it was all worth it, particularly with the brutality, loss and conclusion of an asexual relationship (of a sort). You are left with the impression he doesn't believe where he ended up either.

Given the quality of the series, it's a wonder why a few questions matter, but because of the quality, they do at the conclusion in a bittersweet note. It has been a rich saga with plenty of scope for future projects, which I hope will occur, but I have a hunch it will only be if a stronger story needs to be told.

As it is a must for any serious fantasy reader and an example for a bloody good audiobook series.

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