The Liars Knot by M.A. Carrick – ARC Review!

Trust is the thread that binds us . . . and the rope that hangs us.

In Nadezra, peace is as tenuous as a single thread. The ruthless House Indestor has been destroyed, but darkness still weaves through the city’s filthy back alleys and jewel-bright gardens, seen by those who know where to look.

Derossi Vargo has always known. He has sacrificed more than anyone imagines to carve himself a position of power among the nobility, hiding a will of steel behind a velvet smile. He’ll be damned if he lets anyone threaten what he’s built.

Grey Serrado knows all too well. Bent under the yoke of too many burdens, he fights to protect the city’s most vulnerable. Sooner or later, that fight will demand more than he can give.

And Ren, daughter of no clan, knows best of all. Caught in a knot of lies, torn between her heritage and her aristocratic masquerade, she relies on her gift for reading pattern to survive. And it shows her the web of corruption that traps her city.

But all three have yet to discover just how far that web stretches. And in the end, it will take more than knives to cut themselves free… 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note this review will contain spoilers for book one.

In Nadezra everyone wears a mask of some kind, but Ren in about to learn just how many it takes before the masks take over you start to loose yourself. After the events of book one Ren is splitting her time between Renata, Arenza and the Black Rose, all have the same goals, but each give her a different way to exact change in the city that is sat on a knifes edge. She is determined to leave Nadezra better than she found it, even if that means putting herself in danger in the process. Her tenuous alliances with Derossi Vago and the Rook come in more useful than she would have expected, and before long Ren is going to have to decide whether the safety of those she loves is worth unravelling all of her hard earned secrets.

Grey Serrado is no stranger to masks, and the more time he spends with Ren, be it as himself, or the Rook, the more he can see the weight of her secrets slowly dragging her down. He desperately wants to help, but the Rook has only survived this long because no one knows his true identity, and he can’t risk that over his ever growing feelings. Derossi Vargo has secrets buried under secrets, the biggest of which surrounds the mysterious ‘voice’ that he hears. He’s a man on a mission, a mission that is years in the making and if he has to be ruthless to bring the truth to light, then ruthless he will be.

Told from multiple POV’s including the three above, The Liars Not is epic in scale and filled to the brim with relatable and brilliantly brought to life characters. The authors have a knack for writing characters with an impact, whether they appear for a page or more, there is no one that is irrelevant to the story in any way. My favourite from the smaller pov’s has to be Tess, Renata’s maid and Ren’s sister. She helps make Ren more relatable, making you realise that underneath it all she is just a gutter kid, desperate for a better life.

As with book one the scope of this story is simply epic. I did wonder whether I would find the story as engrossing after finding out the identity of the Rook in the first book, and with that story line seemingly tied together in a knot but Brennan and Helms did a masterful job of ensuring that I never felt bored, by adding more mystery and depth to the plot from book one, delving more into the history of the Rook, the reason it was created who had worn the hood before (I KNEW IT!), as well as introducing a whole other side to the story that had me shook (in a good way.) I truly didn’t see it coming and it added a little more humour, mystery and depth that ensured I stayed glued to the pages. Also, kudos to the authors for including a recap of book one at the beginning. I very rarely have time to -read previous books in the series and this gave you all the information you needed to get right back into the story.

One of my favourite things about this series is the character interactions. Seeing how people interact differently depending on which mask they are wearing. There are a wealth of different relationships from the mutual hatred of Grey and Vargo, to the familial love between Ren, Tess and Sedge, but what I really loved in this book was the romance arc. I can’t tell you how many times I swooned when reading a certain couple’s scenes together, and it was made all the more fun and tension filled because we knew who was under the masks when the characters didn’t. It was wondrously slow burn and managed to add a whole new depth to the plot.

Filled with tension, flirtation, banter, intrigue and some of the most beautifully described outfits I have ever read, it’s hard not to get swept away by the story. The regency style setting, and brilliantly rendered magic system make this a unique read, and I love how the authors let us learn as we go, there are no major info dumps, but each little tit bit we learn about the magic system and world come naturally through the telling of the story, ensuring a seamless reading experience. The title is wonderfully apt, with all the different characters weaving more and more lies as the story goes along, I was a little worried as to how it would end, but luckily the authors decided enough was enough, these knots need to be unravelled, which made for some of my all time favourite, and most times hilarious character interactions.

This series is perfect for lovers of character driven stories. Though there’s plenty of action, mystery and drama the strength is undoubtedly in the characters and their interactions with each other. Similarly to book one this doesn’t end of a cliff hanger per se, but it definitely leaves you wanting more. There’s so much I loved about this book but can’t talk about because they are major spoilers, but suffice to say if you loved The Mask of Mirrors you will adore The Liars Knot.

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