Seven Faceless Saints by M.K. Lobb #bookreview #YA #darkfantasy

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?

In this war-torn world, its citizens are descended from seven saints. Some are born with magic or may develop it later in life. These people become disciples and enjoy many privileges and luxuries. Those without magic, the unfavored, are at the bottom of the food chain and struggle with poverty. They’re also considered expendable and sent to war to fight for a country who gives them practically nothing.

As children and into their teens, Damian and Roz were best friends who fell in love. Both were unfavored until Roz developed magic as an early teen. Being a disciple isn’t something she wanted – she doesn’t believe in the saints or the society they built. It’s an unfair world. Damian was sent to war for three years and is still emotionally scarred from his experiences there. Fortunately, his father holds a powerful position in government and is able to secure Damian the position of captain of Palazzo security upon his return. Damian broke Roz’s heart while he was away by cutting off communication with her even after her father was brutally killed when she needed Damian most. Now she can’t stand the sight of him (but not really), and he can’t stop thinking about her. After several murders, the two of them team up to find the killer. It should be mentioned that the first couple of murder victims were unfavored – and no one cared. When a disciple is killed, finding the culprit becomes a priority.

In between the snippy quips, apologies, angst, declarations of love, and everything that comes with the romantic drama between prickly Roz and guilt-ridden Damian, I enjoyed the mystery. I had my suspicions, but the identity of the killer came as a surprise to me. There’s a mountain of conflict between Roz and Damian – she works with the rebels and he’s a cop, his father was responsible for her father’s death – and they have pretty big hurdles to overcome.

Reviews have been mixed for this novel, but with a mystery that keeps you guessing, likeable characters, complex world-building, and brisk pace, it gets a thumbs up from me. I’ll definitely be looking out for the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

21 thoughts on “Seven Faceless Saints by M.K. Lobb #bookreview #YA #darkfantasy

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