Book Review and Blog Tour: The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston

Never stake more than you can afford to lose.

When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament.

Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war…

This was a complicated little book with lots of twists and turns that were sometimes hard to keep a grip on, characters came and went, motivations slowly unravelled and we had a couple of reminiscence flash backs too. All of it added to the overall feel of the con being played out and the reader being as out of control as the mark was.

It did make it a little tricky to properly feel like you knew any of the characters very well even though I did like Valen and was rooting for him to succeed.

This isn’t a long book coming in at 324 pages and I found the best way to enjoy it was to read it over several long sittings so that the story could wash over you, I struggled when trying to read it in shorter bursts.

There is magic and magical systems but the primary story here is all about the cards and the con, the magic is something of an interesting side note that non the less adds to the feel of the world.

With thanks to Rebellion Publishing for a copy in exchange for honest review and The Write Reads for inviting me on the blog tour.

The Knave of Secrets will be published 9th June 2022

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