Swords and Scoundrelsby Julia Knight (Website, Twitter)
Series: The Duelists Trilogy #1
Narrator: Angèle Masters
Published by Hachette Audio, Orbit on October 6, 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Adventure, Fantasy
Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Vocho and Kacha are champion duelists: a brother and sister known for the finest swordplay in the city of Reyes. Or at least they used to be-until they were thrown out of the Duelist's Guild.
As a last resort, they turn reluctant highwaymen. But when they pick the wrong carriage to rob, their simple plans to win back fame and fortune go south fast.
After barely besting three armed men and a powerful magician, Vocho and Kacha make off with an immense locked chest. But the contents will bring them much more than they've bargained for when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous plot to return an angry king to power....
Swords and Scoundrels is the first book in The Duelist's Trilogy -- a tale of death, magic, and family loyalty.
Sword play, intrigue, subterfuge, and double crosses– Swords and Scoundrels is an epic adventure fantasy full of these and more. The world of Swords and Scoundrels is one of magicians, nobles, the working poor, duelists used for protection, a king grasping for power while the duelist guild wants power as well. Priests and the public worship the clockwork god in a city that rotates every three days on a clockwork platform. The city of Reyes comes to life as siblings Kacha and Vocho make their way with a locked, stolen chest full of mysterious documents that hold the key changing who is in charge of the country.
Nobody pushes your buttons like your sibling…
Julia Knight captures sibling rivalry quite accurately in sister Kacha and brother Vocho. While perfect Kacha always had the love of their father, Vocho was cast aside and beaten down–never good enough. His need to be better than his older sister–and to be good enough for his sister–continues on into adulthood when they’ve in the Guild and become the best dualists in Reyes. They fight constantly, they have fun, they’re each other’s biggest rivals, but they also have each other’s backs. When Vocho is accused of murdering a priest they were supposed to be protecting, Kacha isn’t sure if she can trust him anymore.
Throw in an ex-boyfriend nobleman to complicate things…
Kacha’s ex-boyfriend Petri Egimont has been sent to recover the stolen chest, and he’s not surprised when he sees that Kacha and Vocho have the documents. Petri has a complicated past with the Guild and his family–and with Kacha and Vocho for that matter, and this unclear relationship with many characters makes him hard to pin down for most of the book. I did grow to enjoy his banter with all of the characters, epecially Kacha and Vocho, since it was often humorous.
I give Swords and Scoundrels a 4.5 out of 5. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook, and narrator Angèle Masters’ British accent is very easy to listen to and enjoy for hours. Her cadence and tone for the different characters was unique and pleasant. Swords and Scoundrels is fast paced and deftly plotted with well-developed characters. I really enjoyed the tumultuous sibling relationship between Vocho and Kacha, and I also loved the added dynamic of Petri in the mix. The magic system and the clockwork system were developed enough to be interesting and not overwhelming, and I’d like to see more of this world building in the next book. I have book two, Legends and Liars, waiting for me to listen to on my phone right away.