published: 13th May 2021
Power always wins.
Imagine Camelot but in Gotham: a city where knights are the celebrities of the day, riding on motorbikes instead of horses and competing in televised fights for fame and money.
Imagine a city where a young, magic-touched bastard astonishes everyone by becoming king – albeit with extreme reluctance – and a girl with a secret past trains to become a knight for the sole purpose of vengeance.
Imagine a city where magic is illegal but everywhere, in its underground bars, its back-alley soothsayers – and in the people who have to hide what they are for fear of being tattooed and persecuted.
Imagine a city where electricity is money, power the only game worth playing, and violence the most fervently worshipped religion.
Welcome to a dark, chaotic, alluring place with a tumultuous history, where dreams come true if you want them hard enough – and are prepared to do some very, very bad things to get them…
Galley provided by publisher
Blackheart Knights is a book that I’ve been highly anticipating ever since I heard about it. You know those books where the concept alone is just immaculate, but then you open them and everything else about them is immaculate too? This was one of those for me.
The book follows two different timelines: Art, years in the past, who is about to be named king, and Red, just a few months before the present day. Both of which are steadily converging on a single point, although for a long time it’s not clear just what that is. It’s the kind of book you just have to immerse yourself in and let it carry you to its conclusion.
Because that’s probably the best thing about this book, the way it draws you in and keeps you hooked. You don’t know — and you won’t know for a long while — how the two stories link together (although you may have guesses, given who the characters are supposed to be), but the story does an excellent job of keeping you engaged, by giving you a world that you can all but feel.
It’s also helped by the fact that the characters are all great. You can’t help but love them from the start, even as you know they’re heading towards tragedy. Actually, a great strength of this book is that it makes you believe that maybe things will work out. Maybe this won’t be the normal Arthurian tale. Or that could just be me and my vain hopes.
As such, the ending took me completely by surprise (yeah, okay, it shouldn’t have really). It’s the kind you read with slowly growing horror (in a good way), as everything falls down around you, and tears start streaming down your face, because you know what’s coming, finally. But, like I said, that’s probably one of the best parts of the book: I knew where it was going, really, if I thought about it, but I still maintained the hopes it wouldn’t go that way.
And, honestly, I think my original review summed up this book quite well. Basically just ………..fuck.