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The empire has fallen and another rises in its place in the action-packed sequel to Devin Madson's epic fantasy, We Ride the Storm. Into Kisia's conquered north, a Levanti empire is born. Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e'Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returne The empire has fallen and another rises in its place in the action-packed sequel to Devin Madson's epic fantasy, We Ride the Storm. Into Kisia's conquered north, a Levanti empire is born. Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e'Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returned from the dead it will challenge all she thinks she knows and everything she wants to believe. Now empress of nothing, Miko is more determined than ever to fight for her people, yet with her hunt for allies increasingly desperate, she may learn too late that power lies not in names but in people. Rah refused to bow to the Levanti emperor, but now abandoned by the Second Swords he must choose whether to fight for his people, or his soul. Will honor be his salvation, or lead to his destruction? Sold to the Witchdoctor, Cassandra's only chance of freedom is in his hands, but when her fate becomes inextricably linked to Empress Hana, her true nature could condemn them both. There is no calm after the storm. The Reborn EmpireWe Ride the StormWe Lie with Death For more from Devin Madson, check out: The Vengeance TrilogyThe Blood of WhisperersThe Gods of ViceThe Grave at Storm's End


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The empire has fallen and another rises in its place in the action-packed sequel to Devin Madson's epic fantasy, We Ride the Storm. Into Kisia's conquered north, a Levanti empire is born. Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e'Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returne The empire has fallen and another rises in its place in the action-packed sequel to Devin Madson's epic fantasy, We Ride the Storm. Into Kisia's conquered north, a Levanti empire is born. Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e'Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returned from the dead it will challenge all she thinks she knows and everything she wants to believe. Now empress of nothing, Miko is more determined than ever to fight for her people, yet with her hunt for allies increasingly desperate, she may learn too late that power lies not in names but in people. Rah refused to bow to the Levanti emperor, but now abandoned by the Second Swords he must choose whether to fight for his people, or his soul. Will honor be his salvation, or lead to his destruction? Sold to the Witchdoctor, Cassandra's only chance of freedom is in his hands, but when her fate becomes inextricably linked to Empress Hana, her true nature could condemn them both. There is no calm after the storm. The Reborn EmpireWe Ride the StormWe Lie with Death For more from Devin Madson, check out: The Vengeance TrilogyThe Blood of WhisperersThe Gods of ViceThe Grave at Storm's End

30 review for We Lie With Death

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petrik

    ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review There is no calm after the storm, Devin Madson has crafted a sequel rich with wonderful character developments and illuminating revelations. It’s been roughly seven months since I finished reading We Ride the Storm. Ever since I finished it, We Lie With Death instantly became one of my most anticipated books of 2019. Considering the unreasonably high expectations I had for this book, I honestly think that it’s truly praise-worthy that Mad ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review There is no calm after the storm, Devin Madson has crafted a sequel rich with wonderful character developments and illuminating revelations. It’s been roughly seven months since I finished reading We Ride the Storm. Ever since I finished it, We Lie With Death instantly became one of my most anticipated books of 2019. Considering the unreasonably high expectations I had for this book, I honestly think that it’s truly praise-worthy that Madson was able to create another novel that repeatedly grabbed my attention. Before I begin my review, I would like to first inform everyone that there’s a “Story So Far” and a Characters List section at the beginning of the book that will help refresh your memories of the first book. We Lie With Death is the second book in The Reborn Empire quartet by Devin Madson. The story takes place immediately from where the last book left off and I found it to be more character-driven than before. We Ride the Storm has shown the raging war that came upon Kisia, We Lie With Death built upon that tension by developing the characters and expanding the world-building through gripping revelations and resonating themes. I loved reading the clash of culture between Levanti and Kisia. The conflicts between them really portrayed the difficulty in unity between different cultures; they feel applicable to our world. “A lesson we all ought to remember. There is only one person responsible for your actions and that is yourself.” The first book also established a strong mystery surrounding the character Leo Villius. We don’t have to wait any longer because a huge chunk of the mysteries has been revealed in this book. I’m seriously happy with the way Madson unveiled the background of Leo; not only it was brilliant, but the revelations also sparked my excitement to read the sequel of this novel as soon as possible. Madson keeps up her efficient and effective storytelling narrative in many ways but it was the most evident in the way she revealed the secrets of the Villius’s family gradually; making sure readers always have something to look forward to within each chapter and beyond the last page of this novel. What made all the mysteries and revelations even more incredible was the way it all subtly connects all the way back to Madson's first trilogy. I’ve said this before, reading The Vengeance Trilogy is not a requirement to enjoy this series, but it would be beneficial. I was constantly gratified by the Easter Eggs I found; even more so in this book. The Easter Eggs this time were provided mostly in Cassandra’s chapters; which was a huge step up from the previous book. The information regarding Overincarnation, the Laroth family, Saki, Empaths, and the souls will have extra weight only if you’ve read The Vengeance Trilogy. “They had wanted to break our spirit, but they had failed. Levanti could be beaten, tortured, killed, but not broken. Never broken.” Characters once again stole the spotlights. In my opinion, the greatest changes that Madson imbued into this book was the addition of another POV character: Dishiva e’javoren. I won’t lie, it took me a bit of time to warm up to Dishiva. It wasn't because her POV was badly written, I was just too curious about reading Rah, Cassandra, and Miko’s story that I felt Dishiva’s to be distracting at first. However, the second half of the book changed my early impression of Dishiva completely. Dishiva’s story ended up becoming as good as the other three, possibly even better due to the superbly written camaraderie, mystery, and thrilling elements contained in her POV. Ironically, Rah, who was one of my favorite POV character from the first book ended up becoming the least interesting here. It felt like his character is stuck in the same place mentally since his first appearance; he received the least development compared to the other main characters. It’s very rare for me to find a fantasy series with a majority of female main characters that are badass and easy to root for without needing the phrases “she’s unlike any other woman,” to emphasize. But they’re here. I have mixed feelings on Hana’s POV from Madson’s first trilogy, that’s not the case here because I immensely enjoyed reading the female POV’s of this series; they’re spectacularly developed and all of them have a very distinctive voice to their compelling narrative. “When you’ve lived out of the world as long as I have you realize how foolish such things as titles and gold are. You begin to measure wealth in knowledge and respect instead.” Excluding the few minor issues I encountered, the rest of the book was as amazing as its predecessor. We Lie With Death is a fantastic sequel that delivered a fast-paced war story packed with exhilaration, shifting alliances, and unpredictable turn of events. This is the sixth book by Devin Madson that I've read and reviewed; none of them received anything below 4 stars. I'm confident that it's only a matter of time before Madson becomes the next indie success story. You might as well give this series a go as soon as possible. If you're still not sure about this series, this book features a savage head-chopping barbarian babysitting a whimpering dog. Need I say more? The wait for We Lie With Death was worth it, and now I proceed to my next wait for the third book of the series. Sidenote: I'm truly honored to be featured in the acknowledgment of this book! :') Official release date: March 28, 2019 You can order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Devin Madson’s We Ride the Storm was one of the most welcome surprises of 2018. By now, Madson has firmly established herself as an Aurealis Award-winning epic fantasy mogul, but it wasn’t until WRtS started catching fire among a few fellow bloggers that I decided to give this series a shot. This turned out to be a great decision, as I quickly became lost in a richly detailed world with generations of lore spanning multiple empires. I have been eagerly awaiting the next book in the series and ev Devin Madson’s We Ride the Storm was one of the most welcome surprises of 2018. By now, Madson has firmly established herself as an Aurealis Award-winning epic fantasy mogul, but it wasn’t until WRtS started catching fire among a few fellow bloggers that I decided to give this series a shot. This turned out to be a great decision, as I quickly became lost in a richly detailed world with generations of lore spanning multiple empires. I have been eagerly awaiting the next book in the series and even dove into a prequel novella to learn more about the history of this expansive world. So, I am thrilled to share that We Lie with Death, book two of the Reborn Empire trilogy, successfully ramps up the series’ tension and intrigue while providing plenty of answers to some burning questions that have been brewing since this world’s inception. There are several distinguishing aspects of Madson’s writing that are once again on full display in We Lie with Death. We add a new POV as Dishiva’s role is expanded, and we now cycle through four viewpoints throughout the story. Every chapter carries substantial weight; each passage is like a short story unto itself. The novel is steeped in symbolism, as the onslaught of the much-ballyhooed rain season stimulates constant change and growth. The name of the Reborn Empire itself has taken on a double meaning; the empire is being restructured and reborn, but it also references the various reincarnated souls and their growing importance to the saga. Although Rah is immersed in a strange new land, he remains stubborn to the point of naiveté. His story remains compelling due to his constant struggle to protect his fellow clansmen from the evils of enslavement and the temptations of abandoning their long-held values. Yet Rah’s story is also frustrating due to his refusal to allow himself or his people a chance to adapt to a new way of life. Rah’s chapters once again feel like the backbone of the story, as his journey comes full circle in this volume – both figuratively and literally. “A God. Of death. He rides with us. We are branded in his name that he may always know our sacrifice. We are the Swords that hunt so your hands may be clean. We are the Swords that kill so your soul may be light. We are the Swords that die so you may live.” Miko is also running out of options, friends, and safe spaces. She is an Empress without a kingdom and all her alliances are in question, so we see her get paired up with some very unlikely companions. Her story is unpredictable, tense, and quite often amusing. Madson instills dark comedy into some of the more harrowing events of the story, and the situational humor that lies just below the stress and violence is both welcome and refreshing. This mix of humor and horror also carries over to my personal favorite character, Cassandra, the assassin whore who got a two-for-one deal in the Souls department. Her cliffhanger from the end of We Ride the Storm was a corker, and her story rattled around in my head the most during the interim months. I’m happy to report that Cass’s story not only features some incredible character pairings, but also kicks open the door & revealing what she really is, and the truth behind many lingering mysteries. I was genuinely surprised at how much we learned about how souls and religions truly work in this world, and what its implications are for the future. (Hint: big.) “I had only ever been proud of a job well done, my entire worth connected to the pleasure and death of others. Perhaps it was time to be proud of something else.” As much as I enjoyed the story, there were a couple of observations I noted in comparison to the first book of the trilogy. There’s a fair bit less action in WLwD, but there is much more intrigue, and as stated above, ANSWERS. Lots and lots of them. Some were even cleverly foreshadowed yet flew right by me at the time. Also, while Dishiva is a necessary POV to allow the reader to witness important scenes, her characterization felt a bit too close to Rah’s to entirely distinguish her on her own merits. Nevertheless, her chapters were some of the most exciting, especially towards the finale, and she wins this book’s coveted How Can You Leave Us Like This? Cliffhanger Award . I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one the most interesting, suave, and charismatic minor characters I’ve ever encountered in print, fiction or otherwise. The brave and brilliant soldier Swiff is a man of few words – too few, I’d say – but his impact on the story is nothing short of earth-shattering. Never have I fallen so hard and so fast for a character that exudes the essence of wit, personifies the heart of grace, and devastates all admirers across such a small measure of pages. I applaud Madson’s boldness and ingenuity in creating such a memorable character that is sure to rock the foundations of literature itself. We Lie with Death elevates the Reborn Empire trilogy to new heights, amply raising the stakes for its characters without losing sight of its underlying themes of identity and societal acceptance. Madson writes with a powerful narrative voice that continues to resonate after the last pages are turned. Fans of prolific world-building and the clashing of discordant cultures will find a lot to enjoy with this series, one of my recent favorites. 8.5 / 10 Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest, completely unbiased review. Or, I gave it my best shot. On sale March 28th.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    Actual rating: 4.5/5 With a richly immersive setting and complex characters, second book in The Reborn Empire series wraps readers in a dark and gritty tale. As far as dark epic fantasy goes, We Lie with Death checks all the boxes. It presents readers with a world so vivid and featuring complex religious and racial divides, it will satisfy genre’s most discriminate enthusiasts. I don’t count myself as one and yet I felt utterly engrossed in the events.  We Lie with Death expands and deepens the Actual rating: 4.5/5 With a richly immersive setting and complex characters, second book in The Reborn Empire series wraps readers in a dark and gritty tale. As far as dark epic fantasy goes, We Lie with Death checks all the boxes. It presents readers with a world so vivid and featuring complex religious and racial divides, it will satisfy genre’s most discriminate enthusiasts. I don’t count myself as one and yet I felt utterly engrossed in the events.  We Lie with Death expands and deepens the world Madson created. Where We Ride the Storm focused closely on three protagonists, the sequel introduces a new character’s point of view, adding another dimension to the events. I needed time to warm up to Dishiva e’Jaroven, Captain of the Second Swords of Jaroven, but once I did her chapters kept me glued to the pages. Not only does she have an interesting backstory and engaging voice, but she also sheds some light on Dom Leo’s dark secrets and Gideon’s machinations.  Leo’s presence added a lot of colour and dark humour to the pages of WRTS and most readers took him for a charming, if slightly creepy and eccentric character. It turns out he has a nefarious agenda and he will stop at nothing to make it happen. New reveals surprised me and moved the story in an exciting direction. Prepare for clever twists that will make your jaw drop and nod in appreciation of Madson’s plotting skills. Rah and Miko’s arcs intertwine as they spend a significant part of the book together. Their thorny relation changes and turns into something interesting, but not cheaply predictable. They come from radically different cultures and the clash is inevitable as showed in scenes where Rah tries to honour deceased by cutting their heads. Miko doesn’t appreciate it - where Rah sees his duty, she sees barbarity. And yet, forced by the events they have to learn to trust each other despite their differences and language barrier.  Ultimately though, it’s Cassandra Marius’ arc I find most exciting. Madson explains her unique talents and explores them in a darkly humorous way. Let’s just say the unfortunate turn of events will force Cassandra and Empress Han to form an unlikely alliance and their caustic head-to-head lightens dark themes their chapters explore. Cassandra remains my favourite character and I doubt it’ll change. Along with her remarkable world building, Madson introduces rich supporting characters that are deftly drawn into both the battles and the layered political intrigue. She packs plenty of twists into the story. Though some revelations are predictable, most reveals and unique “magic” system elevate the story above most contemporary dark fantasy. Another great strength of the Reborn Empire series is its exploration of faith, religion, and how those in power adhere and abuse both.  If it stumbles somewhere, it’s only with pacing. While I admire writers able to create complex mythology and detailed world as a reader I prefer creative minimalism and don’t enjoy all the details. I could live without them. And I would have even more fun. The last thing that needs mentioning is the quality of the ebook production. Just look at the cover and the font - it looks spectacular. And it doesn’t end here. Each character has its own sigil printed in the beginning of his/her chapter. The book opens with the list of characters and a summary of the key events of the first book allowing the reader to refresh the memories. I think We Lie with Death is a brilliant sequel. I recommend it to fantasy fans seeking their next dark epic fantasy fix. ARC through Fantasy Book Critic

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    We Ride the Storm ★★★★ 1/4 We Lie with Death ????? I just got my copy of this book from Orbit! I am so excited for this one :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jon Adams

    Release day! Reviews for sequels don't need to be long and drawn out. If you liked the first book, you'll love this one. If you loved the first book chances are you're already planning on reading this one. Do it, as soon as you get the opportunity. Madson knocks it out of the park..again. Well done. I am very thankful to the author for providing me with an ARC and I can't wait to buy the physical copy to add to my collection. Release day! Reviews for sequels don't need to be long and drawn out. If you liked the first book, you'll love this one. If you loved the first book chances are you're already planning on reading this one. Do it, as soon as you get the opportunity. Madson knocks it out of the park..again. Well done. I am very thankful to the author for providing me with an ARC and I can't wait to buy the physical copy to add to my collection.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Queen Terrible Timy

    This review was originally posted on Queen's Book Asylum! Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Orbit in exchange of an honest review. “What is justice if not an idea?” she said. “What is freedom if not an idea? What is culture if not an idea? If you do not fight for it then someone can take it from you. Can take your way of life. Your freedom. Are those things not worth fighting for?” Events pick up right where they were left off at the end of We Ride the Storm. Miko is forced to fled and find a This review was originally posted on Queen's Book Asylum! Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Orbit in exchange of an honest review. “What is justice if not an idea?” she said. “What is freedom if not an idea? What is culture if not an idea? If you do not fight for it then someone can take it from you. Can take your way of life. Your freedom. Are those things not worth fighting for?” Events pick up right where they were left off at the end of We Ride the Storm. Miko is forced to fled and find allies to get back Kisia’s throne with her faithful General on her side. Rah leaves the forming Levanti Empire behind after refusing to bow down to Gideon, trying to figure out where he should go. Cassandra finally meets the Witchdoctor, but not exactly the way she planned. Actually, nothing happens the way she planned. In We Lie With Death a fourth POV character joins the others: Dishiva e’Jaroen, who decides to stay with Gideon and help him build the Levanti Empire and keep him safe, even from himself if needed. I’ll try not to go too much into details regarding the plot, as this is a book you have to discover for yourself. There are so many layers to We Lie With Death that it’s hard to talk about them all without some accidental spoilers. But I’ll try anyway. One of the strengths of Madson‘s book – s we know from book 1 – is her characters. We Lie With Death is purely character driven and hoo boy, it’s hard not to root for at least one of them. My favorite remains to be Cassandra, whose person is surrounded by mystery. Rest assured, we’ll get a few answers and a bit of explanation of how reincarnation of a soul works for example, or why does Cassandra have a company in Her. And hers is the honor to reveal one big twist which will leave your jaw hanging open. Seriously, I did not see that coming and it also makes Dishiva’s troubles muuuuch more interesting. Not that they weren’t to begin with. But back to Cassandra for a minute. Like it or not her fate is entwined with Empress Hana’s and they have to work together in order to have a chance of survival. One of my favorite parts of this plotline was the house they are delivered to by the Witchdoctor. It has a huge tree in the middle of it and the way Madson described it, makes me want to live in it – after some rebuilding and cleaning, that is. On second thought, it would be a total pain to keep that house up. Anyway. Cassandra keeps finding herself in impossible situations and forced to work closely with others. For someone who prefers to work alone, this is not a fun situation. But fear not, she is still her dirty-mouthed, strong-headed, loud self as always. Dishiva. I already liked her in We Ride the Storm, and I was really happy to see her getting her own chapters. As one of Gideon’s trusted people, her job is to take care of the safety of Gideon, as the head of the guard. There is a certain someone who, despite Dishiva’s warning, gets close to Gideon while he tries to make his dream of a free Levanti Empire come true. In We Lie With Death, we get to glimpse at Gideon’s pretty complex situation and wonder how aware he is of certain things around himself. Dishiva tries her best to warn him though. Her “reward” for her troubles is being sent for taking care of some problems which just leads Dishiva deeper into politics and her consciousness. Dealing with problems and fulfilling orders seem to be simple enough, but what she doesn’t see coming is that she’ll start questioning her own loyalty and find herself conflicted. My favorite part about her plotline was the way the mystery slowly unfurled around her, made me think I was reading a crime novel – the better kind might I add. It’s amazing, how Madson can wave so many tropes and genres into one novel. Rah finds himself in a position where he is forced to make an unusual ally and accept some hard truths about himself and the expectations some of the Levanti sets for him. The question is, what does Rah want? Keep living in exile, go home or fight against/for Gideon and his dreams of an Empire? Or something else? “In darkness you cease to exist as solitude wears your soul to a stub, but nothing could erode the truth in my heart.” Miko was my least favorite character in We Ride the Storm, but she started to grow on me this time around. She is no longer the spoiled princess who tries to play the adults’ game. Now she has to find her own way to claim her throne and find allies to fight against the Levanti. What she didn’t expect is that she has to fight for the support of her own people and find a way to make a deal with Jie. One of my favorite things about We Lie With Death is the way the cultures collide with each other. Levanti and Kisian are forced to get closer to each other and learn about the other’s customs, sometimes adapting to them. It’s interesting to see how people can understand, furthermore form a bond with each other without speaking a common language. Also to experience how one’s opinion about a character changes when seeing them through a different character’s eyes. The biggest achievement from Madson is that while I usually don’t like too much traveling in books, she made me not to care about that at all because I was just so engrossed in the characters’ story as it unfurled before my eyes. If I liked We Ride the Storm, I’m sure as hell loved We Lie With Death. All the POV characters have their distinct voices and you can’t help but turn the pages in your need to learn what happens next. This is that kind of book which makes you promise yourself you’ll only read one more chapter. Let me spare you of lying to yourself: you won’t be able to stop. Every chapter ends in a mini climax urging you to read on. By the end, you won’t be able to contain your feelings and probably will curse Devin Madson by leaving you hanging, waiting for the next book like a drug addict waits for the next shot. Or Stiff, if we are talking about Cassandra. We Lie With Death is cleverly written, intricate and addictive, merging genres like it’s the most natural thing in the world while handling topics with a sensitivity that shows Madson’s genius. If you didn’t read We Ride the Storm yet, start it now because you don’t want to miss out on We Lie With Death!

  7. 4 out of 5

    The Coycaterpillar Reads

    You know what they say after a storm? It clears the air, but there was no calm after the storm in We Lie with Death. The world building is once again rich and brutal and I was once again delighted to see characters taking their own paths, accepting the hand that fate had dealt them and becoming all the stronger for it. I only very recently finished reading We Ride the Storm and the first thing I did was request the next book in the series on netgalley, thankfully the book gods granted my request You know what they say after a storm? It clears the air, but there was no calm after the storm in We Lie with Death. The world building is once again rich and brutal and I was once again delighted to see characters taking their own paths, accepting the hand that fate had dealt them and becoming all the stronger for it. I only very recently finished reading We Ride the Storm and the first thing I did was request the next book in the series on netgalley, thankfully the book gods granted my request and here I am basking in the glory of the empire of Kisia. I was hesitant and on edge before diving into this book not because I thought it was going to be an awful experience but because I had built up my expectations to be unnaturally high. We’ve all been there; you love a book so much that you daren’t believe that a sequel could even match the high you’ve just been taken on. Well, Madson doesn’t disappoint…I don’t think its possible that the author can write a bad book. The magic, the elegance and the culture immediately whisks you off into lands unknown. Its impossible to fight it. Oh, and the biggest plus point that I personally feel has been missing from fantasy books…THE STORY SO FAR. A recap, yes…FINALLY! We Lie with Death carries on immediately after We Ride the Storm and the brakes aren’t applied through-out the book. The action is like a shovel to the face and doesn’t stop for a breath, not even for a minute. The characterisation is stronger, the personalities coming through to the reader in 8k definition. I fell harder for characters than I even thought possible and I was the biggest cheerleader mainly for Rah( Boy does he know how to get into trouble)! The reader gets more of an understanding about the conflicts between cultures. The cracks appearing between Levanti and the Kisians. The power of politics is never too far away from the fray and you can almost feel sorry for some of the characters (ALMOST)! We Lie with Death is a masterpiece in storytelling and having that ability to know when the perfect time is to drop those bombshells. I didn’t know whether to pull my hair out or scream for joy at some of them but then that’s the intense mastery portrayed by Madson. The plot surrounding Cassandra is growing thicker by the page and my greedy little fingers couldn’t turn the pages quick enough; I wanted to learn more about souls, reincarnation and overincarnation. It just added so much more depth to the narrative. We Lie with Death has an atmospheric sense of place. An absolute treat from a superbly unique voice in fantasy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Another fantastic installment! Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature! When I read We Ride the Storm last year, I had no idea how much I would end up loving it or that it would become the start of a new trilogy that I would be endlessly anticipating as it continues to be released. We Lie With Death is an intricate, gritty, richly developed, and highly satisfying follow-up that I sincerely enjoyed and cannot recommend enough to others to pick up. The mixture of racial tension, political int Another fantastic installment! Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature! When I read We Ride the Storm last year, I had no idea how much I would end up loving it or that it would become the start of a new trilogy that I would be endlessly anticipating as it continues to be released. We Lie With Death is an intricate, gritty, richly developed, and highly satisfying follow-up that I sincerely enjoyed and cannot recommend enough to others to pick up. The mixture of racial tension, political intrigue, religious strife, and many other thematic elements were developed even more in this installment and allowed the plot to be propelled even further. Before I even read the first page of the book, Madson managed to exceed my expectation by including a "the story so far" recap and detailed character list that I always immensely appreciate in fantasy books. This is the perfect way to refresh your memory before diving into the sequel, as it was short but filled with just enough information to catch your up on the biggest details from the first book. We Lie With Death has a much different pace than We Ride the Storm, but it somehow managed to be just as captivating and exciting as the first book. The pacing this time around felt a bit slower, a bit more plotting, and more complex and unpredictable than before. There were a lot of mysteries introduced in the first book that were further explored or answered in this book in ways that I never saw coming and that have left satisfied with what I know, but still yearning to know more in future books. The characters remained some of the most compelling components of the story. We continue to follow Rah, Miko, and Cassandra, as well as the newest addition, Dishiva. I didn't expect to have a new POV from Dishiva, but I ended up feeling extremely grateful to have it and follow things from her station in the story. Cassandra and Miko remain two incredibly compelling characters who are both exceptionally strong in their own unique ways. They are also both rather cunning, but aren't without faults or the ability to make mistakes or false judgments. Rah continued to be a fascinating character to follow as well, though I feel he had slightly less development than his female counterparts. His journey is still fascinating to follow and I liked seeing how he handles all of his life circumstances, but he just didn't seem as changed as the others. This book also allowed us to explore some new locations of the world created by Madson, which I found rather exciting, and I also liked meeting some new characters, such as the Witchdoctor, as well as becoming reacquainted with old ones, such as Empress Hana. I felt that there was a lot more to delve deeper into regarding religions, tensions between various peoples, and individual characters themselves that has turned this into an even more complex and page-turning story. One of the best things about Madson's writing is her ability to mix serious themes and tones with humor and a somewhat more lighthearted-narrative at times. Don't get me wrong--this is not a lighthearted story, but it is one that has a great balance of darkness and violence with moments that help to keep things more entertaining and realistic. As I mentioned above, the pacing is slower than the first book, but it's still not a slow pace. There is more plotting and discussions and revelations, but there's also plenty of action to keep things moving forward. As a quick side note, I'd like to note that this book was initially scheduled to be release on March 28th, 2019, but it has been (temporarily) pushed back. I do not have an updated publication date, but don't let that stop you from starting this series and looking forward to the sequel's release! It is absolutely worth it. Overall, I've given We Lie With Death a well-deserved five stars!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This series is showing every sign of being a truly great epic. The first volume, We Ride the Storm, was one of my favourites from last year. This second volume certainly continues in good style. Edit - I initially thought the series a trilogy but I’m told it’s a quartet so the review is modified to accommodate that! The four leading characters who featured in #1 continue each with their own chapter headings, plus one new POV, another Levanti captain. There were times when I was reading this book w This series is showing every sign of being a truly great epic. The first volume, We Ride the Storm, was one of my favourites from last year. This second volume certainly continues in good style. Edit - I initially thought the series a trilogy but I’m told it’s a quartet so the review is modified to accommodate that! The four leading characters who featured in #1 continue each with their own chapter headings, plus one new POV, another Levanti captain. There were times when I was reading this book where I could feel it’s a second volume in a series. It doesn’t have the dynasty shattering events and battles of #1. The world building, and the back stories of all the parties had been completed in #1. In this volume everyone is getting used to the new landscape after the drama of #1, new rulers and alliances, albeit unstably fashioned. But I’m fine with this breather, where everyone is taking stock of the situation. It’s the same with each POV, all of them a bit out of place, unsure what their roles or ambitions should be. They even wander around the countries involved in the conflict a little aimlessly. In general that worked fine as for most of the POVs it allowed them to determine new targets for themselves which will no doubt lead to an epic #3. Maybe for Rah, the Levanti captain, the arch traditionalist in his nomadic people and a favourite in #1, I felt he hadn’t grown as much as I’d hoped, so I lost a little enthusiasm for his thread in the story. Cassandra’s story had the potential to be very confusing given the ‘body swapping’ that goes on, but in the end I didn’t have trouble following it! It’s a fantasy low on the supernatural, aside from some body swapping, but where it is present, with the creepy Leo, it did add a nice mystery to the story. It’s all well set up for #3, which I’m looking forward to. Probably because of my love of the world building stages in excellent fantasy series this volume didn’t enthral me quite as much as #1, so 4.5* rather than 5. All the same, if #3 lives up to expectations this looks like it’s going to be a top class fantasy series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rosalyn Kelly

    Back in December 2018 I read We Ride The Storm, the first book in The Reborn Empire series by Devin Madson and I LOVED it. It was my book of 2018. Fast-forward to December 2019 and I finished the second book, We Lie With Death, and also massively enjoyed it! This second novel picks up soon after the first one ends. The empire of Kisia has been conquered by the Levanti, and they’re settling in. The new emperor, Gideon, is doing his best to keep his Levanti people together while also attempting to Back in December 2018 I read We Ride The Storm, the first book in The Reborn Empire series by Devin Madson and I LOVED it. It was my book of 2018. Fast-forward to December 2019 and I finished the second book, We Lie With Death, and also massively enjoyed it! This second novel picks up soon after the first one ends. The empire of Kisia has been conquered by the Levanti, and they’re settling in. The new emperor, Gideon, is doing his best to keep his Levanti people together while also attempting to get the conquered Kisians on side by adopting some of their practices. The Chiltaens are licking their wounds back in their country, and there’s one person who is back in Kisia – even though they already died… The Kisians are reeling from the invasion, and different factions are plotting their revenge. The story is told from four point of view characters. The captain Dishiva is loyal to Gideon, but also to her roots. The Levanti are horse people who ride in herds across the plains. So, the niceties and etiquette of the Kisians is a complete contrast to what she knows. She’s suspicious about the back-from-the-dead person who Gideon seems to favour, but every effort she makes to uncover the truth is thwarted. This makes her even more wary of their intentions and more determined to discover what secrets this resurrected person is keeping. We also hear again from Rah e’Torin, the banished captain of the Second Swords. He upholds the Levanti honour code to the bitter end, and that has got him into some trouble with the new emperor. He’s cast out from the herd and must find his way again – is he what the Levanti need in Kisia or should he head back to the plains? He pairs up with an unlikely ally and spends a lot of time with a dog in the rain pondering what he should do next. The ousted Kisian empress Miko is in hiding, she’s attempting to gather allies to her to retake her throne. But getting anywhere in the Kisian rain is a bit of a nightmare – and then people she thinks she can trust, betray her – or die. She knows who she needs, but he’s inconvenienced in the new emperor’s dungeons. And lastly, we hear again from Chiltaen whore and assassin Cassandra – my favourite! – who is now in the care of a Witchdoctor who is studying Cassandra’s strange ability. Cassandra wants the second voice out of her head, but discovers the alternative could be worse, much worse. She ends up partnering with the last person you’d imagine she’d end up with and their adventures – often at crossed purposes – is fun to witness. I love the writing style of this author. I got swept along in each of the narratives and could read for hours without tiring. The imagery is vivid and unique and the turn of phrase of the Levanti is distinctive. The dialogue naturally flows and the internal dialogue of each character is authentic. Although I really enjoyed this, I didn’t quite love it as much as book one. I found Dishiva’s narrative a little slow and Rah and Miko both spend a lot of time floundering in the rain (there’s a lot of rain in this book!) on long journeys. Cassandra was the only character who, for me, had lots of action and intrigue and interesting twists. So, although the pace wasn’t as fast as book one, it’s still a brilliant read and I can’t wait for book three. This is a great read for those who love Asian-inspired fantasy, grittier reads with multiple POV characters and beautifully crafted prose. This review and more on my blog www.rosalynkelly.co.uk/blog * I received a review copy from the author

  11. 5 out of 5

    Queen Terrible Timy

    The review was originally posted on RockStarlit BookAsylum! I've got an ARC from Devin Madson in exchange of an honest review. “Alive one moment, dead the next, the weight of each individual soul upon the world as fleeting as a daylight sparrow.” Events pick up right after they were left off at the end of We Ride the Storm. Miko is forced to fled and find allies to get back Kisia's throne with her faithful General on her side. Rah leaves the forming Levanti Empire behind after refusing to bow d The review was originally posted on RockStarlit BookAsylum! I've got an ARC from Devin Madson in exchange of an honest review. “Alive one moment, dead the next, the weight of each individual soul upon the world as fleeting as a daylight sparrow.” Events pick up right after they were left off at the end of We Ride the Storm. Miko is forced to fled and find allies to get back Kisia's throne with her faithful General on her side. Rah leaves the forming Levanti Empire behind after refusing to bow down to Gideon, trying to figure out where he should go. Cassandra finally meets the Witchdoctor, but not exactly the way she planned. Actually, nothing happens the way she planned. In We Lie With Death a fourth POV character joins to the others: Dishiva e'Jaroen, who decides to stay with Gideon and help him build the Levanti Empire and keep him safe, even from himself if needed. I usually give a little summary about the plot, but this time I'm trying to avoid it, as this is a book you have to discover for yourself. There are so many layers to We Lie With Death that it's hard to talk about them all without some accidental spoilers. But I'll try anyway. One of the strenghts of Madson's book is her characters. We Lie With Death is purely character driven an hoo boy, it's hard not to root at least for one of them. My favorite remains to be Cassandra, whose person is surrounded by mystery. Rest assured, we'll get a few answers and a bit of explaination of how reincarnation of a soul works for example, or why does Cassandra has a company in Her. And hers is the honour to reveal one big twist which will leave your jaw hang open. Seriously, I did not see that coming and it also makes Dishiva's troubles muuuuch more interesting. Not that they weren't to begin with. But back to Cassandra for a minute. Like it or not her fate is entwined with Empress Hana's and they have to work together in order to have a chance of survival. One of my favorite parts of this plotline was the house they are delivered to by the Witchdoctor. It has a huge tree in the middle of it and the way Madson described it, makes me want to live in it - after some rebuilding and cleaning, that is. I sometimes found a bit hard to follow the explanations about the souls and I still not entirely sure I understand how Cassandra's "problem" works, but at least good old Cassandra was her usual self fighting, not giving up when she wants something and not hiding her opinion.  Dishiva. I already liked her in We Ride the Storm, and I was really happy to see her getting her own chapters. As one of Gideon trusted people, her job is to take care of the safety of Gideon, as the head of the guard. There is a certain someone who despite Dishiva's warning gets close to Gideon while he tries to make his dream of a free Levanti Empire come true. He is so occupied with his plans and ambitions, that doesn't heeds Dishiva's warnings. Instead, after several "incidents" happening around her, Gideon sends her to deal with a camp of deserters as well as Koi - which a Kisian army led by Jie - or as Emperor Kin the second as he is called now - and his grandfather, Odayama. But what she doesn't see coming is that she'll start questioning her own loyalty and find herself conflicted when she steps into that camp. My favorite part about her plotline was the way the mystery slowly unfurled around her, made me think I was reading a crime novel - the better kind might I add. It's amazing, how Madson can wave so many tropes and genres into one novel. Rah finds himself in a position where he is forced to make an unusual allie and accept some hard truths about himself and the expectations some of the Levanti sets for him. The question is, what does Rah want? Still live in exile, go home or fight against Gideon and his dreams of an Empire? Just a quoute which gives back Rah's personality: "In darkness you cease to exist as solitude wears your soul to a stub, but nothing could erode the truth in my heart." Miko was my least favorite character in We Ride the Storm, but she started to grow on me this time around. She is no longer the spoiled princess who tries to play the adult's game. Now she has to find her own way to claim her throne and find allies to fight against the Levanti. What she didn't expect is that she has to fight for the support of her own people and find a way to make a deal with Jie.  One of my favorite things about We Lie With Death is the way the cultures collide with each other. Levanti and Kisian are forced to get closer to each other and learn about the other's custom, sometimes adapting to them. It's interesting to see how people can understand furthermore form a bond between each other without speaking a common language. It's interesting to experience how one's opinion about a character changes when seeing them through a different character's eyes than before.  If I liked We Ride the Storm, I'm sure as hell loved We Lie With Death. All the POV characters have their distinct voices and you can't help but turn the pages in your need to learn what happens next. This is that kind of book which makes you promise yourself you'll only read one more chapter. Let me spare you to lie to yourself: you won't be able to stop. Every chapter ends in mini climax urging you to read on. By the end you won't be able to contain your feelings and probably will curse Devin Madson by leaving you hanging, waiting for the next book like a drug addict waits for the next shot. We Lie With Death is cleverly written, intricate and addictive, merging genres like it's the most natural thing in the world, while handling topics with a sensitivity that shows Madson's genius. If you didn't read We Ride the Storm yet, start it now, because you don't want to miss We Lie With Death!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Iryna *Book and Sword*

    The cover is amazing! I don't know how I fell out of the loop and missed this book being a thing so soon, but I'm here for it. Well, I'm here for Cassandra, so she better not disappoint! Just a month to wait, I can manage. Right? My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG The cover is amazing! I don't know how I fell out of the loop and missed this book being a thing so soon, but I'm here for it. Well, I'm here for Cassandra, so she better not disappoint! Just a month to wait, I can manage. Right? My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

  13. 5 out of 5

    Juliano Dutra

    DNF at 20%. Had some problems with de plot and even prose on the first book, but i liked the how the characters traits when they were initially introduced. I thought that, after their passivity in the first book, they could make more pragmatic decisions for their actions and goals, but .... Nothing happens and they just whine that no one acts as they think they should. I believe that good authors can make the books interesting, even when the characters have their means of action restricted, as an DNF at 20%. Had some problems with de plot and even prose on the first book, but i liked the how the characters traits when they were initially introduced. I thought that, after their passivity in the first book, they could make more pragmatic decisions for their actions and goals, but .... Nothing happens and they just whine that no one acts as they think they should. I believe that good authors can make the books interesting, even when the characters have their means of action restricted, as an example: the attempt to extract meaning and what is their role from then on... A pity, because the Audiobook narrators are excellent !!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Full review is here, on my blog!~ Well, this one picks up pretty much where We Ride the Storm left off. The Kisian Empire is fractured, with the Levanti claiming a good chunk of it, and Miko Ts’ai attempting to claim the other, with pushback. Rah e’Torin has been exiled from the rest of the Levanti and left pretty much to die, but runs into some trouble which ends up leaving him with an unexpected companion. Cassandra is stuck with Empress Hana, who has been sold along with her to the Witchdoctor w Full review is here, on my blog!~ Well, this one picks up pretty much where We Ride the Storm left off. The Kisian Empire is fractured, with the Levanti claiming a good chunk of it, and Miko Ts’ai attempting to claim the other, with pushback. Rah e’Torin has been exiled from the rest of the Levanti and left pretty much to die, but runs into some trouble which ends up leaving him with an unexpected companion. Cassandra is stuck with Empress Hana, who has been sold along with her to the Witchdoctor who wants to do experiments on her. At the same time, he is the only one who can free her from her… affliction, so she’s willing to tolerate them. Her and the empress end up becoming fairly close due to their circumstances as well. And we see part of this story from the POV of Dishiva e’Jaroven as well, who is the new Commander of the Imperial Guard. She is guarding the new Emperor from threats coming from inside, while also keeping an eye on one Dom Leo Villius, the son of the Chiltean Hieromonk, who has showed up quite unexpectedly, considering the state he was left in after the conquest of the Empire. I love love loved this story, as it answered some of the questions that I had been left with in book one, not the least of which is what exactly Cassandra’s affliction is, and how it can be used. We do find out more about that in this volume, and I thought it was fantastic. I ended up really latching onto Dishiva, despite her being kind of new, and rooted for her to win the day. I also really enjoyed Rah’s adventures in this one, even more so than in the first book. He is sent out on his own in this one, and we get to see how he fares without his Swords behind him. He is a very honorable man, and feels a bit as if he is the only Levanti with any honor left. When he runs into his new companion, I wasn’t expecting them to stick together as long as they did, but I found myself loving the relationship between them all the same. I have feelings about this, and I hope they are resolved in some way. And Cassandra… oh Cassandra. I wasn’t sure what I thought of her portion of the story when it started, but when her and Hana got closer together, I’ll admit that I was hooked! She’s so crass in a way that I can relate to. She knows what she wants and she’ll fight to get it, and the dynamic between her and Hana was awesome, because one is very proper (as an Empress should probably be) and one is very, very not. This is on top of the voice that lives in Cassandra’s head throwing Her 2 cents in from time to time. But, the big winner here in terms of characters that I didn’t know whether to admire or loathe or… maybe a bit of both I think? (???) is Dom Leo Villius. Wow. Just… Damn, my dude. This was such a hard book to put down. The world is vivid and easy for me to imagine. The plot rolls right along at a rather brisk pace, and I found myself making time at work and while eating to read snippets of it, because I just could not tear myself away. Still just as well written as the first volume, this one continues the story in a way that satisfied and yet left me wanting more. It twisted, it turned, it constantly left me surprised and excited to pick it up and read more. Fantastic read! More more more more more, pls! Thanks to the author for the review copy! :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda J Spedding

    Brilliant next instalment of the Reborn Empire. Stakes are raised, battles rage on personal and empiric fronts, and a new voice has been added to the storytelling who may just turn out to be my favourite. Madson's prose is beautiful and brutal, the political machinations pulling no punches, but always there are the characters whose tales you can't help but invest in... and that's the true art of storytelling. The sigils for each of the narrators are incredible pieces of art, and such a unique wa Brilliant next instalment of the Reborn Empire. Stakes are raised, battles rage on personal and empiric fronts, and a new voice has been added to the storytelling who may just turn out to be my favourite. Madson's prose is beautiful and brutal, the political machinations pulling no punches, but always there are the characters whose tales you can't help but invest in... and that's the true art of storytelling. The sigils for each of the narrators are incredible pieces of art, and such a unique way to introduce each voice. Cannot recommend enough.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This and more reviews at superstardrifter.com This one starts off almost immediately after the events of We Ride the Storm. Miko is on the run, her empire shattered into fragments. Rah is also on the run, after refusing to bow to the Levanti Emperor who conquered part of Kisia. Cassandra has been sold to the Witchdoctor, and finds herself in his custody with Emperess Hana, being experimented on. Cassandra's willing to just go along with it, because the Witchdoctor may be the only person in the wo This and more reviews at superstardrifter.com This one starts off almost immediately after the events of We Ride the Storm. Miko is on the run, her empire shattered into fragments. Rah is also on the run, after refusing to bow to the Levanti Emperor who conquered part of Kisia. Cassandra has been sold to the Witchdoctor, and finds herself in his custody with Emperess Hana, being experimented on. Cassandra's willing to just go along with it, because the Witchdoctor may be the only person in the world that can help her get rid of the extra voice in her head. We also get POV chapters from Dishiva e'Jaroven, the commander of the new Levanti Emperor's Imperial Guard. She's doing her new job to the best of her ability, but there are some pretty shady shenanigans going on, and it's up to her to figure out who is murdering pilgrims coming into the city. I really latched onto Dishiva and her story. It was really compelling, and I found myself reading on well past bedtime just to get more of it. Cassandra and Hana are like polar opposites. One is very proper, like an empress should be, and the other is very not-proper, as an assassin/prostitute would probably be. Nevertheless, the relationship between Hana and Cassandra grew on me, because they both decide to make the best of their situation and just roll with whatever comes their way. Rah finds himself with a new companion on his flight from the Levanti Emperor's dungeon. I really enjoyed how the relationship between them developed, especially considering that there is a good chunk of their journey together in which they don't speak the same language. I loved this book just as much the second time as I did the first. Maybe a little more! The story was basically the same as I remembered, but all the same it felt fresh and new. It was fantastically written, and the pacing was nice and brisk and had me reading into the wee hours. There were bits that I had forgotten that surprised me yet again. I'd also forgotten the big reveal nearer to the end, and so I found myself asking the same question I had the first time around: what's in the box? What indeed, We Lie With Death. What indeed. This was a great addition to a great series and I cannot wait to get We Cry for Blood into my eyes. If you haven't had a chance to read We Ride the Storm, run don't walk. This was a fantastic follow-up! Thanks to the author, as well as Orbit via NetGalley for the review copy!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vigasia

    Solid continuation that deserves all the stars :)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)

    Hooooly shoot. What a novel.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alan Baxter

    A fantastic sequel to We Ride The Storm. Intrigue and backstabbing, action and mayhem, all set in a wonderfully realised world with complex, compelling characters. Get on this series, folks, it’s great.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dianthaa

    Check out more reviews on my blog www.dianthaa.com I received an ARC through NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts This was great. I love it when books deal with the aftermath of a great war or similar, and We Lie with Death just dug into that and most of the book was just people messed up by circumstances, and often their own choices, trying to crawl through the mess left at the end of book 1 and come out the other side. This was also kinda true in book one, but it’s more obvious here, that Check out more reviews on my blog www.dianthaa.com I received an ARC through NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts This was great. I love it when books deal with the aftermath of a great war or similar, and We Lie with Death just dug into that and most of the book was just people messed up by circumstances, and often their own choices, trying to crawl through the mess left at the end of book 1 and come out the other side. This was also kinda true in book one, but it’s more obvious here, that we don’t have the PoV of any of the people truly pulling the strings, the characters we follow are constantly guessing at leader’s true plans and loyalties, and I found that a very interesting read. They’re constantly thrown about by faith in a whirlwind of hope and hopeless and they make the most of it by sheer determination. I know it’s only been 6 months, but I loved being back with these characters! Sure they’re all messed up, smelly, tired, afraid, very smelly, but it was so good seeing them again! Especially some I wasn’t expecting to see much more of. As soon as we got started I was curious to see where all of this would be going, and I didn’t manage to successfully predict anything. I think there was a bit of middle-book syndrome, in that there wasn’t one thing towards which everything was flowing, there were 3-4 paths that were mostly separate. There wasn’t one big thing at the end, though each ending was life-altering or had a huge revelation, for that character. I can’t say that it really bothered me, but it was different from book 1. It worked great to make me want to read on cause I need to know what these lovelies do next. Ok, yes, I know they’re murderous lovelies but still. Cassandra is the winner for me this round. She’s mostly removed from everyone else for the duration, hidden away with the Witchdoctor. But that part is fascinating. We learn more about how her passenger works. The place where they are is so old and rickety and atmospheric, the other characters we meet there are also mysterious and shady. I loved that entire part. She also spends a lot of time with Empress Hana and they are so good together. They don’t trust each other and there’s lots of bad blood but there’s also some grudging respect for the ways they’ve survived in a man’s world. The things she learns are probably also going to make a huge difference in future books, and it was a great case of something seeming to not make sense at all and the OHHHH. Dishiva is introduced as a new PoV character in this book, and she’s our main window into what’s going on with the Levanti army. She’s trying to get back her feeling of control after she was sexually assaulted in book 1, and it’s tough for her. She’s also following Rah’s footsteps of being conflicted about Gideon’s actions, especially the more time Leo seems to spend with him. Rah – I did not expect his story would lead where it did. I don’t want to spoil it, so no details. It was lots of fun, had a lot of nice moments, even cute and tender ones. In some ways, he was similar to book 1, constantly torn between his rigid honor and situations where there’s no right choice. He did spend a lot of the book doing Kisia: The Scenic Route, with a lot of rain, but he also had a lot of time to think about what he’s done. I’m very curious to see what he does next. Miko is great, she reaches the bottom a few times but she’s always so strong, even when there are no allies in sight. We do get to see some vulnerability from her, and even a bit of acting her age, which was great, if over way too soon. I’d love to have some PoV chapters from Gideon or Leo, to know how things are really standing and what’s really up. Which is probably why we won’t be getting any. If We Ride the Storm had two of the strongest book openings I’ve recently read, We Lie with Death had a magnificent ending, so strong and powerful, I was left there just staring at it. Recommended for: well this is the second book in the series, so people who read We Ride the Storm, which I’d recommend to people looking for low-magic political and war fantasy with well developed characters r/fantasy Bingo squares: politics

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom Smith

    Copied from my Facebook page "Writers, Whiskey and Wagging chins. I just finished We Lie with Death (sequel to We Ride the Storm)by my friend Devin Madson. What a fantastic book! It's already in my early favorites for book of the year along with Rob Hayes' Never Die and Richard Nell's Kings of Ash. All 3 have distinctly asian feels and for a lifelong martial artist like me that grew up watching kung fu theatre on Saturday mornings, I have to say I'm digging it. I find Devin's book reminiscent of Ta Copied from my Facebook page "Writers, Whiskey and Wagging chins. I just finished We Lie with Death (sequel to We Ride the Storm)by my friend Devin Madson. What a fantastic book! It's already in my early favorites for book of the year along with Rob Hayes' Never Die and Richard Nell's Kings of Ash. All 3 have distinctly asian feels and for a lifelong martial artist like me that grew up watching kung fu theatre on Saturday mornings, I have to say I'm digging it. I find Devin's book reminiscent of Tales of the Otori which is high praise as I loved that series. (Written by her fellow aussie - Lian Hearn) Book 2 continues along the trail blazed by book 1 where the sometimes brutal Levanti horselords (who left their own lands for something better)and the Chiltaens battle with the native Kisians over the fate of Kisia. Poltical intrigues, battles (both internal and external) and a unique system of magic and competing religions all combine for a well-paced powder keg of grimdark excitement. I can't wait for book 3! I give it 🥃🥃🥃🥃🍻(4.5/5) Thanks Devin! -(Tom)

  22. 5 out of 5

    KitKat The #BookNerd KBbookreviews

    Rating: 5 out of 5. Synopsis: The Kisian Empire has fallen, and a Levanti Empire has taken it’s place. But the Empire is fractured and deadly secrets pulse through its heart. Miko must fight hard to regain her Kingdom, and Rah must choose his path – home or Gideon? Dishiva, having replaced Rah as Gideon’s trusted Captain, must navigate the new Levanti-Kisia Empire, but someone makes her wary, and Cassandra finds herself with the Witchdoctor, but can, and will, he ‘cure’ her? CW/TW: Death/Gore/Viol Rating: 5 out of 5. Synopsis: The Kisian Empire has fallen, and a Levanti Empire has taken it’s place. But the Empire is fractured and deadly secrets pulse through its heart. Miko must fight hard to regain her Kingdom, and Rah must choose his path – home or Gideon? Dishiva, having replaced Rah as Gideon’s trusted Captain, must navigate the new Levanti-Kisia Empire, but someone makes her wary, and Cassandra finds herself with the Witchdoctor, but can, and will, he ‘cure’ her? CW/TW: Death/Gore/Violence/Rape (attempt/mentions)/Murder/brief mentions of ‘abortion’/other warnings associated with epic fantasy may also exist. Spoiler Warning: This review may contain spoilers for Book 1 in The Reborn Empire Series. Book Review: We Ride The Storm (The Reborn Empire #1) Blog: https://kbbookreviews867789450.wordpr... Devin Madson has done it again, We Lie With Death is as brilliant, unique and brutal as Book 1 in the series! This sequel manages to give us more depth, more mystery and more tension, while also shedding light on some of the questions raised in Book 1. This book was tense, I was gripped from the start and read the whole thing in one sitting – never have I been so stressed every time a character was left alone...my heart could not take the cruelty! Aside from Madson giving me a heart attack every few chapters, this books was an emotional and brutal ride, the stakes and risks are high and the costs are deadly. Book 1 ends with Cassandra on her way with the Witchdoctor, where she wanted to be? Yes. A success… well that’s up for debate. This alone raised A LOT of questions about the Witchdoctor and Cassandra (and the Her that resides with her). But, these are not the only questions – Leo (Dom Villius) is an enigma that baffles us at every turn, Gideon’s plans for the Levanti-Kisian Empire have yet to be divulged, and Rah and Miko’s fates are left in a jumble. So do we get answers in book 2? YES BUT ALSO MORE QUESTIONS! We Lie With Death is again brilliantly written. From the descriptions to the dialogue, it is masterfully done – the prose is rich,witty and detailed, truly bringing the settings and characters to life, immersing us in this epic story. Again we get multiple narratives that all work flawlessly together giving us insight into multiple sides of the conflict and crumbling Empire, with chapters from Cassandra, Rah, Dishiva, and Miko, meaning we get an epic scope as well as incredible depth into different aspects of this world. I adore multiple narratives, and Madson does it perfectly. So, Cassandra’s chapters deal with the curiosity that is the Witchdoctor. Cassandra is a character I love, and this book just cements my love for her. All throughout Book 1 Cassandra wishes to find the Witchdoctor, believing he can rid her of ‘Her’, the voice inside her head… that can also talk, take control of her body and reanimate the dead – you know the usual nuisances. I loved this storyline, and everything we learn. This narrative gives us a lot of answers and insight into why Cassandra has another voice in her head, and who or what the voice is. Not only does it add depth and complexity to the world and its history, it also opens up a lot more possibilities and mysteries for the rest of the book and series. Again we get the sassy, witty Cassandra who obviously tries her luck more times than she should, but with some new limitations popping up along the way, cleverly done and interesting to read about. I also loved the dynamic between Cassandra and those with the Witchdoctor, particularly Kocho, and The Empress (Especially with the Empress – this was so entertaining). The character relationships are truly amazing in this series, and I love watching how their relationships change and grow, particularly with Cassandra whose relationships are 90% sarcasm and conflict. Cassandra’s narrative ends on a hilariously (only by the characters reaction which I did laugh at) freaky note, that is horrifying and sets up for something big in the next book. It’s hard to explain how interesting this narrative was without spoilers but I LOVED it. Next up Rah. Rah’s storyline follows his capture and imprisonment at the end of Book 1, after he defied Gideon. This time Rah must decide on his path, does he go home or does he stay in Kisia? Despite his conflict with Gideon, Rah is determined to find him and speak with him again, meaning he has to travel through Kisia, but he finds himself tangled up in another problem along the way. Another brilliant character, obsessed with honour and loyalty, Rah sticks to what he knows an believes and tries to do what is right. His plot was intriguing because he is a Levanti, in Kisia, who does not know Kisian. This could easily pose problems in the long run in terms of story telling but Madson finds a way around this. Firstly, with another Levanti who finds and travels with Rah – he is able to translate for the most part, but as conflicts rise Rah finds himself without his friend at his side. Despite being unable to adequately communicate with the Kisian he ends up with, the story maintains its intrigue, and watching the two characters work together and try to communicate was fascinating and shed light on the differences between the Levanti and Kisians but also their similarities. I really loved the dynamic between these two characters as well, and how their relationship slowly progressed to one with more and more trust. As with Cassandra’s narrative, Rah’s also ends on a curious note leaving Rah in a position where he needs to start making decisions. Miko’s narrative follows her escape from the Chiltean attack on Kisia, and the subsequent Levanti take over. Miko needs allies, so she must find her way to someone she trusts, or can turn to her side, without getting caught by the Levanti. Miko is a brilliant character, a strong and capable warrior, a clever strategist and self-crowned Empress- and we get more of that in this book. As Miko works her way through Kisia towards those she believes she can ally with, she faces trouble at every turn and ends up relying on unexpected companions. Being both Otako and T’sai, Miko could have a lot of support, but with Gideon trying to ally himself with influential Kisian’s, it seems it will be harder than she expects. But, Gideon is not the only problem, she comes to find after speaking with childhood friend Edo. Miko find’s herself faced with difficult decisions one after the other in this book, as well as tough journey’s and complex politics. I love watching Miko’s story, her plans, her mind and strategies. But also we get to see some emotion behind her, and hints of vulnerability. Finally I also loved her relationship with the unexpected companion, watching them come to trust and rely on each other. Miko’s narrative ends on a very interesting note, leaving her in a different position with a lot of decisions to make in the next book – her ending leaves big promises for the next installment and I cannot wait to see where it goes. The final story thread comes from Dishiva’s perspective. Dishiva is Gideon’s new trusted Captain, after Rah’s departure. I loved the addition of this perspective because it allowed us to see the inner workings of Gideon’s Empire. Dishiva is loyal to Gideon and the Levanti and struggles with adopting Kisian etiquette, but over the course of the book she finds herself having to follow increasingly difficult orders that test where her true loyalties lie. This part of the story is supported by her wariness of a certain freaky character who makes her uncomfortable and wary. She tries to find out more about them, to understand the motive behind their actions but the more she pries, the more dangerous life becomes. Desperate to protect Gideon and their new Empire, she does her best to figure out the truth, but as she does so she must carefully chose who in the new Empire she can truly trust. Dishiva already has issues with trust and control, partly stemming from the trauma suffered in Book 1, making it harder for her in this book – so I really loved how her and Jass slowly become closer and more trusting of each other. The conflict, almost a game, between her and the freaky character (avoiding spoilers!) is tense and intriguing to watch play out, as she pieces the truth together, and her strained loyalties puts her in precarious positions. Another brilliant plot, expertly woven into the wider story, and of course it wouldn’t be fun without a dramatic ending! This narrative’s ending leaves us in turmoil for the future of the Levanti and Empire as it seems to promise heartbreak and destruction. One of the big questions at the end of book 1 concerns Leo. The man who died and received his own head… as you do. The man seems to be on God’s good side, coming back from the dead like it was nothing leaving us all to wonder how and why? Well don’t worry because you get some answers in this brilliant book! Now, this book still leaves a lot to be known about this creepy death defying man, but we do start to get some fascinating answers, creepy but interesting which leaves big implications for the next book! I cannot wait to see how this plays out . Overall, this book is epic,from its scope to its plot. The characters are engaging and complex, the plot is tense and shocking, and the risks are high! Madson has truly created something extraordinary, and it will keep you gripped from start to finish. A phenomenal sequel that sets up for, what I can only imagine will be, a glorious next installment. I cannot wait to see what happens next. I highly recommend this to anyone who loved the first book, adores high fantasy and loves a mix of brutality, comedy, politics and more! This book, this series, definitely hits all the marks! *I received a physical ARC from @Orbitbooks @Gambit589 in exchange for an honest review – a big thankyou!*

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    HAPPY PUB DAY!!!! Hoping to have a review up for this this week on my channel! Stay tuned :)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lia (An Ode to Fiction)

    3.5 / 5 stars “Yours will break the scales.” Trigger Warning : rape, decapitation, gore, death, war ***SPOILER ALERT*** ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The storm is still ravaging, there is no end to the war and death, with many jaw dropping revelations and major development in plot, Devin Madson is back with We Lie with Death the continuation of the Reborn Empire series. Receiving an Advance Readers Copy (ARC) shortly after I finished the first book W 3.5 / 5 stars “Yours will break the scales.” Trigger Warning : rape, decapitation, gore, death, war ***SPOILER ALERT*** ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The storm is still ravaging, there is no end to the war and death, with many jaw dropping revelations and major development in plot, Devin Madson is back with We Lie with Death the continuation of the Reborn Empire series. Receiving an Advance Readers Copy (ARC) shortly after I finished the first book We Ride the Storm seemed like the best timing to continue the story, armed with a lot of time during the holidays I decided to read We Lie with Death wanting to see Miko, Rah, and Cassandra again. Before I start my review, I would like to thank Orbit and NetGalley for sending me this ARC for me to review. As of publishing this review, the book is already released for readers that are interested in reading the series, just know that the second book is available for purchase. Shout out to the artist that make these covers, Miko is on the cover of this second book and I am living for it. We Lie with Death is the second book to the Reborn Empire series by Devin Madson. The story picks up straight from the last events of We Ride the Storm. Throughout the story the tension and intensity that has built up from the first book is taken much higher than before. The dread is really painful for the characters as all of them are experiencing some kind of loneliness and desperation. It took on a much more character driven plot, focusing more on the characters and what they are experiencing first hand in their many endeavors. It also expands the world as some of the characters go on a journey together and there are pairings between the characters that surprised me. In We Ride the Storm the cultures of each character is much separated but with the conclusion of the first book it is bound for the cultural clash to happen. These cultural clashes happened as a result of the Levanti taking over Kisia’s capital, Mei’ Lian, after Gideon and the other Levanti betrayed Chiltae. Gideon named himself the Emperor and allied the Levanti with Grace Bahain. The struggle to achieve unity between the Levanti and the Kisian’s hits close to real life events which I applaud Devin Madson for. Many of the Levanti supported the new way of life believing that their homeland is doomed, but when there are supporters there are also people that are against it. “Who chooses hardship fighting the unfamiliar when the familiar still exists? The longer we are away the more sentimental we become and many have begun to forget the troubles that landed us here in the first place.“ There are three main POV’s in the previous book, in this sequel we are introduced to another POV that is Dishiva e’javoren, a Levanti captain now general of the new Levanti-Kisia Empire. In We Ride the Storm, Dishiva was publicly humiliated by the Chiltaen soldiers when the Levanti were enslaved to fight Chiltaen’s war. Knowing this I am interested in seeing her development as character since that horrible experience. Dishiva is much more reserved and closed off compared to her previous friendly interactions with Rah. She keeps an arms length distance with the people around her, while having a hard time making sense of the humiliation that she had to experience with a few other Levanti women. Shining a spotlight on Dishiva gives readers a new insight and a set of new eyes to the story. Dishiva’s POV is one of the best in the book; containing a murder mystery, investigation, healing, and deep sense of comradery. I love the presence of another powerful female amongst the cast of already amazing women, Miko and Cassandra. While one of my favorite POV in the first book, Rah, still carries the same tone as the previous book. Rah is still as steadfast as he is in the first book but much shaken. It seems like he is still processing the change that has come upon his people and his life. Slowly, he is accepting this truth; after much discussion and conflict as he tries to forgive himself from going against Gideon. I get the impression that in the next book, Rah’s POV will have a drastic change in tone. Because I just wanna see this man to feel happy, forgive himself, and show some bad ass fighting skills. “But for every one that hates you, there’s one who would follow you to death and beyond.” The POV that I am least interested in is Cassandra’s POV. In this POV contains a lot of knowledge about Cassandra’s existence and abilities. The Witch Doctor’s rag tag bunch that took Cassandra and the Empress in their care have a variety of abilities that has something to do with the soul. They use their powers to help the Witch Doctor to conduct experiments that is being done to Cassandra. Personally, I had a hard time understanding everything that happened in her chapters. The struggles I am having with Cassandra’s chapters is probably because I haven’t read the previous series that is set in the same world, The Vengeance trilogy. If I had prior knowledge I think I would’ve enjoyed Cassandra’s chapters more. It wasn’t working for me and I am sad that I ended up not liking her as much as I did in We Ride the Storm. Cassandra’s POV did give insight to one of the biggest mysteries about Leo and his powers. Leo’s existence is a huge enigma in the previous book to finally have answers about what he is and what he can do is satisfying. The build up to the reveal in Dishiva’s POV and Cassandra’s POV is done really well, Devin Madson’s kept me guessing the whole way. For Miko in We Lie with Death, her development and growth as a character is monumental. As the new Empress of Kisia the lost she dealt with during the war is staggering. She has lost amazing comrades that supports her but she gains a new ally or maybe a possible love interest. To avoid spoilers, I just wanna say that I did not expect it at all. Miko is much more mature, wiser, and less blinded by her ambitions as the experiences she has in this book humbles her in a way. Even though the decisions she made in the past came biting back at her she still tried to set things right and set her ambitions aside. Miko has risen to become a true Empress, fighting to be acknowledge amongst ambitious men that looks down upon her because she’s a woman. I’ll say it again I love Miko. “I am no god, I am flesh and blood the same as you, with a heart that bleeds and a soul that rages,” “Power lies not just with me, but with you all,” The way Devin Madson writes her strong female characters in general, I admire so much. Devin shows how strong they are without having to say “she is not like other girls”, no description is needed to describe how strong the females are in this book which is a huge turn on. My final thoughts about We Lie with Death is it wasn’t the strongest sequel I’ve read as I struggled with Cassandra’s chapters. Honestly, I almost didn’t finish this book but I persevered for the other characters. The issues I have is entirely subjective and I still enjoyed reading the other POVs which pushed me to finish the book. In the future, I will read the previous series and then try rereading the Reborn Empire so I can read her chapters with more knowledge. If you like barbarian and dog interaction, soul transfers, a cast of strong female main characters and Rah, power struggles, intense politics and a bit of mystery; We Lie with Death is the sequel for you. The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    4/5 - cliffhangers should be banned wtf

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rowena Andrews

    We Ride the Storm was a ride, and as the blurb says there is no calm after the storm and in this second instalment in The Reborn Empire, we hit the ground running. I do have to take time though to appreciate the recap and character list at the beginning of the book as it had been a while since I’d read the first book, and this is a practice I hope becomes more common. The worldbuilding in this series is fantastic, and here we see it expand in terms of breadth and depth. Madson had created a vivid We Ride the Storm was a ride, and as the blurb says there is no calm after the storm and in this second instalment in The Reborn Empire, we hit the ground running. I do have to take time though to appreciate the recap and character list at the beginning of the book as it had been a while since I’d read the first book, and this is a practice I hope becomes more common. The worldbuilding in this series is fantastic, and here we see it expand in terms of breadth and depth. Madson had created a vivid, living breathing world of contrasts and divisions, complex religious beliefs and cultures, and in We Lie with Death we get to see more of the intersection and clash of those cultures. However, As much as I adore the worldbuilding, The Reborn Empire is ultimately a character-driven fantasy and they steal the show again here. In We Lie with Die we continue not just with the three main POVs from the first book, but we also get introduced to the point of view of Dishiva e’Jaroven. While we had met her in the previous book, it took a little while to get used to her pov, I think because I was familiar with the others, but her voice was so unique and I think by the end of the book her chapters had become some of my favourites. There was camaraderie and tension and mystery around her pov, and it was interesting to see her struggles between the current situation and Levanti tradition, especially when held in comparison to Rah’s – and as much as I adore Rah, it felt as though there were more depth and motivation to her conflict and search for answers. That said, Rah remains my favourite, and although it felt as though he didn’t perhaps grow as much as I might have wished, there was still development and the feeling that there is more to come. For a man so set in his beliefs, it was interesting to see him so shaken and trying to come to terms with what happened, and while I will say his experience seemed to pale a little when read alongside Dishiva’s, it is still a powerful arc. What was particularly interesting though, was how his path intersected with Miko – and it was fascinating to see them together, the culture clashes that permeate through the book brought to an individual level in their interactions. Miko too continues to grow throughout this book, and her arc probably had the most moments that had me holding my breath. It had taken me a while to take to her in the first book, but here in We Lie with Death I could see her as Empress not just in name, but in purpose and character, and it was like watching (to quote Mulan) watching a flower blossom in adversity. I feel that she is really coming into her own, and some of her choices and the situations she faced truly caught me by surprise in this book, and I can’t wait to see where she will go from here. Cassandra was a character who I’d felt was a little neglected towards the end of the last book, but that is far from the case now, and her arc is possibly the most exciting in this sequel. Madson has taken everything that made Cassandra a standout character and polished it here while exploring and explaining her unique talents in a way that added a necessary facet of humour to the book. Especially through her relationship with Empress Han (and really my quote had to come from them because I just love their interactions). The first book was everything I love about fantasy, and We Lie Death continues very much in the same vein – but with a few more twists and turns added into the mix. Does it suffer from being the second book in a series – yes, a little, especially when you compare the pacing in this book with the first, but this was a book that needed to take its time more than the first did. And I for one feel that We Lie for Death is a strong sequel because it took that time to develop the characters, the world, and to unfurl some of the questions and mysteries (and add some new ones) from the first book. We Lie with Death was everything I wanted from this sequel and more, and has firmly cemented this series as one of my favourite series – ongoing or otherwise – and I will eagerly be awaiting the next instalment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    Oh Miko Miko Miko We Ride The Storm (Book 1) ended on a slightly formulaic cliff hanger, which annoyed me a little bit especially as I was battling coming to a new series that had a rich backstory I knew nothing about. We Lie with Death ends on a triumphant note that leaves me satisfied but still eager for the final book. As with the first book, this focuses around 3 main characters and tells the story from their POVs. Miko has only grown fiercer. As the deposed Emperess, she is besieged on all si Oh Miko Miko Miko We Ride The Storm (Book 1) ended on a slightly formulaic cliff hanger, which annoyed me a little bit especially as I was battling coming to a new series that had a rich backstory I knew nothing about. We Lie with Death ends on a triumphant note that leaves me satisfied but still eager for the final book. As with the first book, this focuses around 3 main characters and tells the story from their POVs. Miko has only grown fiercer. As the deposed Emperess, she is besieged on all sides, Happenstance connects her with Rah who is cast into yet another protector role of someone that would be seen as an enemy of his people. They form quite a bond and I am curious to see how they reconnect again. Cassandra the whore-assassin was the most interesting character in Book 1, but had the least screen time. In this book, she has more screen time but is less interesting. She spends a lot of time with Emperess Hana as subjects of the witch doctor and leads us to some key insights but she’s neither whore nor assassin in this book so not as interesting to me. Leo was the 4th major character who wasn’t given his own POV but still remains a central figure. The Leo in this book isn’t the same though and has an evil disturbing side to him which only begins to make sense when we finally learn his secret. All in, this book still packs the drama and craziness of the first with the somewhat unlikeable characters who are selfish and cunning and backstabbing. There are also a lot more characters this time around and we get another POV from Dishva one of the Levanti Captains, who’s now my new favourite character (ok joint fav with Miko). I can’t wait to see how she survives her current predicament in the next book. All in I enjoyed it - it’s not an easy read as there’s a lot to catch up on from the many loose threads of Book 1, but once I got into it (and could remember the setup for each character) I raced through the pages. Will give this a solid 4 stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt McAbee

    I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. I loved this book from beginning to end! I am already picking this as one of the best books of the year. Picking up where We Ride the Storm left off, We Lie With Death continues to follow Rah, Cassandra, and, Miko through the bitter times that have come to Kisia. Devin Madson's storytelling is on point throughout the book as she delicately weaves a twisting turning story. The second book becomes more character driven than the I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. I loved this book from beginning to end! I am already picking this as one of the best books of the year. Picking up where We Ride the Storm left off, We Lie With Death continues to follow Rah, Cassandra, and, Miko through the bitter times that have come to Kisia. Devin Madson's storytelling is on point throughout the book as she delicately weaves a twisting turning story. The second book becomes more character driven than the first book did as we get deeper into the main characters and some new points of view are added into the mix that help deepen the story. Some of the characters grow in ways that make you like them more, while others that you thought were something good reveal an evil nature. I can't recommend this book enough.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tam

    That was so good. Everything book 1 was and more. I can't wait for book 3 That was so good. Everything book 1 was and more. I can't wait for book 3

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

    Review coming soon ...

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