The Sapphire Altar by David Dalglish

The Sapphire Altar
Vagrant Gods, book 2
by David Dalglish

Trained as an assassin to reclaim his kingdom from the invading Empire, Cyrus is beginning to think the price of his revolution is getting too high.

The beginning of the book contains a concise account of the main characters and events of the first book, so no need to reread The Bladed Faith, unless you want to.

With a fairly large cast of characters, each one is complex with unique feelings, motivations, and relationships. They all have backstory and show growth throughout the story. No one has a clear ‘good’ or ‘bad’, everyone is trying to do what they think is right, even if they have to do horrible things to get there. And they all do horrible things, so if you’re sensitive to blood and gore, this many not be the series for you, but I never felt like it was overly graphic or gratuitous. The characters often question the morality of their actions and rethink their goals as they learn new information.

The world is big and well-developed. Each place has its own culture, religion, and history. All of this plays into the plot, which centers around religious wars. Gods are very much a part of the world and people’s lives, and they each have their own traits, temperaments, and relationships. They’re also the root of the magic system, which often blurred the line between worshipper and god. Prayer and worship have immediate, tangible outcomes here, which I really enjoyed seeing.

Although there is a lot of action, we’re given enough downtime to process everything. There’s enough description to really flesh everything out, without any long-winded descriptions or info-dumping, something I very much appreciated. There are also some small moments between characters that break the tension, which made interactions feel more realistic. No one can take themselves too seriously where it’s not warranted, even though most of the events are pretty dark.

Both interesting and engaging, I had a lot of fun reading this book. A world full of magic and troubles, compelling characters, questionable morals, action, intrigue, and plot twists are all in this book, and all things I love in a story.

Overall, if you like multiple POVs, rich, well-developed worlds, morally grey characters who all grow throughout the story, and plenty of action, I definitely recommend checking this series out. I’ll be looking forward to the third book when it comes out.

Thank you to Orbit and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book