Seven Faceless Saints by M.K. Lobb – ARC Review!

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?

Seven Faceless Saints was a book I was SO excited for. The description, the comps… everything made it sound like it would be my kind of read but unfortunately, the execution fell a little flat for me. The city of Ombrazia is ruled by the disciples who are descendants of the seven Saints who brought the country to life. The disciples lead a cushy life with many options open to them, the other citizens however, are seen as less important, sent to fight in a war that has little to do with them and left to fend for themselves. Roz is a disciple, but she leads a secret life as part of the rebellion hoping to bring down the reign of the Saints, and ensure all of Ombrazia’s citizens are treated equally. Damian is the youngest Captain in Palazzo security history, security used to protect the safety of the disciples, so when one turns up dead he is asked to investigate. Damian quickly comes to realise that the disciple’s death may be linked to that of a few other, regular, citizens in the city and quickly finds himself and Roz investigating. But the deeper they look into the deaths, the more they come to fear that there is a darkness spreading through Ombrazia and they will have to work together if they are going to save the city and people they love.

Sounds good right? Unfortunately the execution of this book left a lot to be desired. I felt there were too many moving pieces, and everything from the world, the magic and the characters needed more development. Roz and Damian were childhood friends who split apart after Roz’s father was murdered, and they now find themselves on opposite sides of a war. Roz became a disciple when all she wanted was to be regular like her father, instead she now works for the people who had him killed. Damian never gained any Saint touched powers, much to the disdain of his father who sent him off to war instead, but the Damian that returned was a shell of the boy who left. Both these characters have dark and emotional backstories, but I just didn’t get emotionally attached to either of them. Their personalities were incredibly one dimensional, there was no room for growth or any kind of deep insight into them and a lot of their introspection and interactions were constantly repeated to the point where it got a little annoying and I ended up skipping parts of the book.

The world building was intriguing, but never truly fleshed out enough for me to get a true understanding of it. We know that Ombrazia was said to have been created by Seven Saints, and their descendants are now the disciples, people with the ability to use the saints powers. The saints names and their powers made very little sense together, and I just felt like we were always missing bits of information that we needed to get a proper understanding of it. I feel like the author wanted to use this story as a commentary on religion, but it just didn’t really work at all. Mainly because the Saints, apart from a minor section of the story, played a drastically small part. In fact the story could have been written without them and would have turned out largely the same.

The writing style was flat and way too descriptive in parts. I’m all for flowy, descriptive writing, but this wasn’t that at all. Rather the author used as many words as possible to describe things and because of this I seriously struggled to stay connected to the story. I also really disliked the romance. It as described as enemies to lovers, but was more rekindled romance. Yes there was a part of the book where one disliked the other, but their introspection showed that while they outwardly showed hatred, inside they were more interested in how their muscles had grown in their time apart. It seemed really unrealistic, jarring in parts with the back and forth between wanting to kill and wanting to kiss and the amount of repetition that was used as reasoning for why they wouldn’t work really started to annoy me.

I’m so sad that I didn’t love this book, in fact the only part I actually enjoyed was the murder mystery woven throughout that played a distressingly small part in the overall story. There were a few chapters centred around this that added some intrigue to the story, and those I enjoyed, but it just played too small a part for it to make up for all the things I didn’t enjoy. I think if you’re someone who doesn’t mind a story that sticks to the surface of everything, never delving deep into the world, characters or magic, then you might enjoy it. But for those who like something to get their teeth stuck into, it might be worth giving this one a miss.

12 replies »

  1. I’m sorry to hear that this one didn’t work for you, Becky! Although I did end up enjoying it, I also agree that the world-building left a lot to be desired. I’m hoping that the author improves on that in the next book cos it has a really interesting concept and I want to see more of it fleshed out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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