reviewed Paladin's Hope by T. Kingfisher

Paladin's Hope (Hardcover, 2021, Argyll Productions) 4 stars

Piper is a lich-doctor, a physician who works among the dead, determining causes of death …


4 stars

It was as enjoyable as the first two volumes of the Saint of Steel series, but at the same time I had mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, I really like the author's sense of humor, I enjoy following the relationships between characters in their late thirties (i.e. my age), and mixing romance with investigations on gruesome murders works really well apparently? I technically finished Paladin's Hope 10 days ago and haven't started a new fiction book since. I just... don't feel like immersing myself in another one for the moment.

On the other hand, I'm afraid that the series could get a little repetitive at some point. Until now, each of them followed a similar pattern. There are berserker paladins whose god died a few years ago, they feel broken, not worthy of love and/or dangerous for the people around them that are not fellow paladins. Until they meet someone and mutually fall in love, after having spent a very long time thinking about how unworthy they are of the other person's affection and vice versa (and there are also corpses that must be investigated). The paladins' love interests are well-rounded, interesting characters (especially the women of the first 2 volumes), but I wish I could say the same about the paladins. Their god died and it's, like, their whole deal. Stephen knits socks, Istvhan is large and Galen mustn't be touched when he's having a nightmare and... that's pretty much it? Their respective personalities aren't literally the same, but the whole "ugh how could they love me?" sort of evens them out I think.

The very end of Paladin's Hope hints at more development of one important plot point, and having a gnole as one of its main characters brought a breath of fresh air, so fingers crossed for more variety in upcoming volumes. T. Kingfisher talks about which characters the following books will be about in this Twitter thread, and it looks like it's still going to be: one book = one of the remaining paladins gets a romance.

I'm with you on gnoles though! (and after book 3's cliffhanger, I admit I'd really like to know where this specific plot is going :P).

Thanks a lot for your list by the way! I read the paladins books because you put them here, and despite my few reservations, I devoured them in less than 2 weeks! And Katherine Addison's books are also on my radar now :)