Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Paladin's Grace by T Kingfisher
Narrator: Joel Richards
Series: The Saint of Steel #1
Published by Tantor Audio on April 6, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 12 hours, 30 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Three years later, Stephen is a broken paladin, living only for the chance to be useful before he dies. But all that changes when he encounters a fugitive named Grace in an alley and witnesses an assassination attempt gone wrong. Now the pair must navigate a web of treachery, beset on all sides by spies and poisoners, while a cryptic killer stalks one step behind…
T. Kingfisher is quickly becoming a new favorite author of mine. Paladin’s Grace is the fourth book I’ve read by her and she really does the blend of romance and fantasy, what I like to call romantasy, together so well. Paladin’s Grace is set in the World of the Rat, after both the Clocktaur Wars and Swordheart series. All of these books are standalone, so you do not have to have read The Clocktaur Wars or Swordheart to enjoy Paladin’s Grace.
Stephen is a broken man. Somehow his god, The Saint of Steel, died. When this happened, his entire order lost their collective minds. There is now a bit of an empty space where his god used to live, but he is lucky as he was one of the few to survive. Taken in by the Order of the Rat, Stephan is just trying to find a way to exist and serve with the loss of his god. He also is trying not to go berserk and kill everyone. He didn’t expect a woman to jump into his arms and asked to be saved.
Grace is a perfumer and she has learned the hard way that she needs to save herself and can’t depend on anyone else to come to save her. Also, she knows that “Relief feels like happiness, if you don’t know the difference.” Really, she is a practical woman who keeps to herself, but somehow ends up embroiled in court politics, an assassination attempt and in a budding romance with a broken man who smells like gingerbread. When she asked him to save her, from some Paladin’s of an order that usually hunts witches to burn, she had no idea that she just entered the life of a man that could be perfect for her. Plus he smells good, if you are a perfumer that seems important.
Kingfisher weaves a great tale full of a little angst as two broken people figure out who they are to each other and political machinations swirling around them. I liked both Stephen and Grace as people. Their inner dialogs made me giggle and the discussions they had with one another seem so heartfelt. The world of the White Rat is interesting, full of gods and strange magics. The order of the White Rat itself is a lot of fun as people try to out maneuver each other verbally (they are mostly lawyers you see). Zale, a priest of the White Rat has been a favorite character of mine since Swordheart, so I was happy to see him again. The only thing this was missing was a gnole (talking badger like creatures) for me to adore. I had to make due with Marguerite, a spy for one of the foreign countries.
Again, Kingfisher has woven a wonderful fantasy story and romance together. I’m quickly making it through her catalogue of books and have not been disappointed. Her writing and humor are fantastic and I look forward to seeing some of the rest of Stephen’s broken Paladins find their way to love.
“He wished that he could break out his knitting, but for some reason, people didn’t take you seriously as a warrior when you were knitting. He’d never figured out why. Making socks required four or five double-ended bone needles, and while they weren’t very large, you could probably jam one into someone’s eye if you really wanted to. Not that he would. He’d have to pull the needle out of the sock to do it, and then he’d be left with the grimly fiddly work of rethreading the stitches. Also, washing blood out of wool was possible, but a pain. Still, if he had to suddenly pull out his sword and fend off an attack, there was a chance he’d drop the yarn, and since he’d been feeling masochistic and was using two colors for this current set of socks, there was absolutely no chance the yarn wouldn’t get tangled and then he’d be trying to murder people while chasing the yarn around. And god forbid the tide rose and he went berserk. You never got the knitting untangled after that; you usually just had to throw it away completely.”
Joel Richards fits Stephen’s voice so well. Stephen is in his forties and Joel was able to make him feel like someone who has been through a lot and thinks everything through before doing anything. He was able to capture Grace’s vulnerabilities as well and make the band of Paladins at the Temple of the White Rat really shine. He did a fantastic performance that made the story even better for me.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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