Knight's Sacrifice by Nita RoundKnight’s Sacrifice by Nita Round is a wonderful debut novel. Catherine Samuels is called home to take over the family business after the violent deaths of her family.  She’s taken over the funeral home that has been in her family for generations. But the funeral home is just the mundane part of the family business. Catherine’s real job is to protect the portal to hell, making sure the dead stay dead, and that nothing comes back through the gate guarding the portal. The problem? Things aren’t going to plan. The dead keep rising and Catherine can’t figure out why. It’s time for some help. Enter Cassandra Evans. Cassie is a problem solver of the magical kind. She is Catherine’s one hope of maintaining control over the graveyard, and the portal therein. It’s Cassie’s job to figure out who’s behind these magical attacks, and to stop them by any means necessary.

The Characters

Catherine Samuels is in over her head, and at her wit’s end. She knows in a general sense what her family’s purpose is, but Catherine was sent away at a younger age. Now, her family has been hunted and killed, but Catherine grew up outside the environs of the Samuels funeral home, and as a result, she doesn’t know some of the secrets, and the magics, that she needs to know in order to do her job. She isn’t trying to shirk her responsibilities, but she also was never taught what they were, and so she’s falling behind in her duty. She’s determined to do her job, and focused on doing it correctly, but she needs help, because she really doesn’t know what she’s doing.

Cassie Evans has arrived in response to Catherine’s call for help to become her Warden, a kind of Knight. Trained to fight the undead and those evil magicians that call them forth, her job is to keep Catherine safe, as well as the Gate, and the consecrated grounds of the cemetery. She needs to figure out who the Necromancers are that are involved in the attack on Catherine and the cemetery, before they’re able to break through the wards and attack the Gate itself. Failure could release Hell on Earth. But as Cassie tries to figure out what’s going on, and who to trust, she’s also fighting against a strong attraction to Catherine. Giving in to the attraction could mean the end of Cassie’s dream to Ascend. Not giving in to the draw could mean the death of Catherine, and the end of life as we know it.

The Writing Style

This book is fairly fast-paced. It’s written in third person limited, with the point of view switching between Catherine and Cassie, but Round does a very good job of never overstepping the limited viewpoint that she’s decided to write in. Neither character ever knows more than they’ve been told or been able to figure out, and Round is very good about not slipping forbidden knowledge to either character. The narration had me turning pages as fast as I could, totally drawn into the story.

The Pros

I really liked the concept of this book. The story of a struggle between Heaven and Hell that wasn’t steeped in too much religion was like a fresh take on an old story. I loved the idea of the Families as a result of Fallen Angels, with the ability to Ascend, as long as they didn’t devote themselves to anything on the mortal plane. The whole story just made me want to read more.

The Cons

There were two cons that I had in this book, with one being my fault. The first con was that the limited omniscience of the narrator meant that in the beginning of the book, I was about as lost as Catherine. And when Cassie showed up, she wouldn’t explain anything so I still felt lost. It took me quite a while to finally figure out what was going on, which could totally be what Round wanted to do. But some people might have a problem with the slow pace of revelation. The second thing, which was totally on me, is that it took me forever to figure out that the Sacrifice in the book title was about Cassie, not Catherine. Part of that is because the story starts the first few chapters with Catherine as the main character, so in my head, it kind of set in my head that the book was mainly about Catherine coming into her power and into her role. It blew my mind when I figured out that the story is just as much about what Cassie may have to do to help Catherine step into her role.

The Conclusion

Everyone should read this book. This is definitely not just another formulaic story. This is a story about Good vs Evil, where there’s a definite winner, and an easily identifiable foe (which doesn’t actually include the one you might think it would, but that’s more of a gray area and probably blasphemy for me to say anyway. I’m totally okay with that). There’s magic, and swords, and struggle, and betrayal, and love, and the awakening of the soul. So yeah, I’m definitely recommending this book. This is my first favorite in 2017.

Amy's favourite booksExcerpt from Knight’s Sacrifice by Nita Round

Standing at the kitchen window, Catherine was ready for trouble even before she heard the honking horn. “Good grief.” She glanced out of the window and saw Cassie first, followed by countless numbers of undead pouring onto her land.

“No!” She cried out, her hand wavered over the red alarm button at the side of the oven, but she knew there was no point in triggering the alarm when she was the only one in the house. She grabbed all of the weapons she could find in the kitchen and raced out the door.

“No!” She screamed as an unsteady Cassie fell beneath the hands and teeth of a small horde of undead. Fear constricted her chest, and for a fraction of a moment, the colours of the landscape leeched out, and became grades of grey. “Get off.” She roared and a few of the lumbering zombies moved in her direction. “How dare you.” She stepped closer shotgun in hand, a rifle slung across her shoulder, and pockets heavy with the handguns she had gathered. Catherine was ready for a small war.

She fired once and a rotting head exploded. With lethal economy, she pumped and fired the shotgun like a Valkyrie possessed. Her shots came so fast and accurate even Cassie would have been proud.

At her side, the three dogs waited with hackles up and teeth bared. “Dogs go get,” she yelled, although she had no idea what they would do, they weren’t hers nor had they been trained to her commands. She was gratified when they raced for the closest moving figures and with growls and snarls laid into the animated dead.

Catherine moved in the direction of Cassie’s last stand and shot anything that got in the way. She kept firing until she was out of shots. She threw the shotgun to the ground, unslung the rifle from her shoulder, and fired shot after shot into the zombies. With every step, a zombie head exploded and carcasses crumpled to the ground.

Glowing red eyes caught her attention as she ejected the spent magazine and grabbed another from her pocket. She reloaded, pointed her weapon in the direction of a cloaked figure and aimed. The Necromancer ran off. “Come back here,” Catherine yelled. “I want a word with you.” She fired off a couple of shots. “Coward!” The figure disappeared into the shadows and she emptied the rest of the magazine into the shuffling zombies.

“Pah.” The magazine clicked empty and she dropped the weapon to the ground and pulled a Browning semi-automatic from her belt. A much used, hand-me-down gift from her uncle, it was her favourite weapon, and she felled half a dozen more zombies as she closed in on the pile of bodies covering Cassie.

She grabbed the topmost zombie by the remains of its hair, but before it fell apart she put the muzzle of the gun to its temple and shot it dead. She grabbed another by the shoulder, the deteriorating cadaver so light it was easy to lift and shoot dead. All five of the zombies on Cassie were light, and slow moving.

“Cassie?” She cleared the last body off Cassie. “Speak to me, honey.”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781619293144
  • Publisher:  Regal Crest

Nita Round Online 

Note: I received a free review copy of Knight’s Sacrifice by Nita Round. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

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