City of Songs (The Seven Swords #3) – Anthony Ryan

You spilled an ocean of blood to claim a kingdom you never wanted, all to destroy something that couldn’t die.”


Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 out of 5 Stars


Thank you Netgalley and Subterranean Press for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

City of Songs is book three in the Seven Swords series and with each installment I keep getting more and more interested in the direction that it is going in. This story is full of so many fantastical elements, and I mean that in regards to the whole series. Talking swords, druids, krakens, and now this installment brought even more fantastical elements into play.

City of Songs picks up right after the last book and its all action in the beginning. A boat ride gone awry and everyone trying to survive. It took me a few minutes to understand what was going on but once I did, I was hooked, the action immediately sucks you in and keeps a hold of you. After that the story goes right into the next adventure of gathering the next sword, and it doesn’t slow down. This is actually my favorite aspect of this series, with it being short there is no time to over glamorize the world so the story has to continue at a relatively quick pace, but Ryan still manages to give you just enough that you can envision what each location is like. He found that sweet spot that allows you to feel like your getting a full story without all the length but also not feel like your being cheated by the short length.

Ryan does not skip out on bringing the fantasy into this series and I absolutely love it. This installment has a mystery murder that Guyime is contracted to solve so he can acquire the whereabouts of another sword. This allows us to get more of Lakorath involved because he takes part in “helping” solve the mystery because he has an insight that the others don’t have. Of course this doesn’t stop him from trying to convince Guyime to kill everyone as they go along. The murder mystery revolves around a few very rich people in this city and the way Ryan wrote their complete disconnect to the real world was so believable. These people are so ridiculously rich that they don’t understand the world outside of their own bubble and quite literally keep themselves apart from it all, it was fascinating honestly. Each one was portrayed differently from the next so they each stood out apart from one another.

Now just because this is a murder mystery that doesn’t mean the beginning is the only bit of action you get, there are 3 heavy actions scenes in this story and each one was engaging and exciting, and were written into the story right when they were needed, they each last long enough to get you hyped up and keep you entertained.

We also got more backstory on Guyime which is great, each book we get a little more but this one really dove in and gave us quite a lot and the way it was presented was quite unique, and it so far as lived up to the vague mentions of bloody and wild. Also the revelations at the end have me very excited for the next installment because it leads me to believe we are about to really learn about Guyime’s past.

The part that threw me though off was in regards to the title City of Songs, I was expecting a city that was heavily influenced by music and thus the theme of the story resonating that idea but instead it focused on an artist who did painting and sculpting, and while Ryan did explain why the city was referred to as the City of Songs, it wasn’t enough to make me fully connect the title with what was going on in the story. I’m not hating on what we got because what we got was very interesting, I mean magic paintings, statues coming to life, murder and so much more. I was even blown away by the truth that was revealed at the end, it was way out of what I was thinking it was going to be. It was all so exciting and loved it, I was just expecting music to be the focus..

“I should like you to know, my liege, Lakorath informed him, speaking with acid percision, that you are the greatest fool who ever wielded me.”

Lakorath the talking sword, who is my favorite character, is getting more and more moments of talking and his personality is hilarious. I just love watching him annoy Guyime because he won’t answer questions that he knows the answer to because he wants Guyime to figure it out. But I also loved getting the chance to see him throw in his opinion or his intelligence when it was needed. I also loved that Ryan managed to connect a character from the first book back to this installment.

Seeker does fall to wayside in this story but Ryan still managed to make her connect to the overall story and made sure to continue connecting her daughter to the overall story as well and I am very interested in where that portion of the story will go.

Guyime’s little group is slowly growing and I’m interested to see how Ryan is going to pull this off, if in each book he is going to gain another companion. His group is already at 4 (maybe 5 if you count Lorweth I’m not really sure if he is a permanent part of the party or not) I’m concerned with how Ryan will pull off a large cast if it keeps growing because these are shorter stories, and sometimes that can be difficult. So I’m both equally looking forward to potentiality getting more party members but also not wanting more because I worry about execution.

City of Songs is another fast paced and lively addition to the Seven Swords series with so much fantasy throw into it, but not enough to make you hate it. Ryan’s imagination is pretty solid and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one.

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