Book Review: WE LIE WITH DEATH by Devin Madson

Title in white on orange clouds with a pencil drawn archer
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: yes - book 2



Book cover for WE LIE WITH DEATH: title in white on orange clouds above a pencil-drawn army

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


WE LIE WITH DEATH follows the fall out of the new Levanti Empire being declared as forces seek to sustain and destroy it. It’s a well-paced book that almost manages to hide the length of it (over 500 pages) as loyalties are tested and characters face tough decisions about what and who to fight for.

The book has 3 main POVS; Miko, Rah, and Dishiva. Their stories interlink – Rah and Miko spend a good portion of the book – which really helped me stay engaged. I like POVs to be intrinsically linked, as my attention wanders otherwise. Plus it really showed the scope of the war, unlike the previous book where it was three separate stories until ~2/3 of the way through.

We have met new POV Dishiva before so she’s not entirely new, so no initial floundering to work out who she is. Her POV shows us what’s happening in the Levanti camp around Gideon trying to keep his empire and Leo being basically dodgy but really hard to work out (it takes until like 50 pages from the end to explain what Leo is, clearing up some confusion around where he is during the book etc.) I really liked the introduction of her POV.

Cassandra drops out of this book for long periods of time, which in a way was good as she wasn’t linked to the rest of the POVs’ stories until the last 100 pages, so I wasn’t particularly interested in her. Thus, her absence did make the rest of the book’s plot feel tighter. However, it did mean having to recall what she’d been doing before when she re-emerged.

After I read WE RIDE THE STORM, I had the feeling that this was a series that I would enjoy more if I binged several books in one go, rather than simply adding a new book each time on top of a re-read. So, I waited for the release of the third book, letting the second wait on my shelf. I suspect, as I am rather eager to pick up the third book (having re-read the first and now this entry) that my assessment of the series was bang on, and that it’s the sort of series that sustained time in the world with continually new stories is the best way to enjoy it for me.

Read my reviews of other books by Devin Madson:

The Reborn Empire (this series):

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