ARC Book Review: FALL OF THE ARGOSI by Sebastien de Castell

I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on blurred red and grey image of girl
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - second book in prequel series



Book cover for FALL OF THE ARGOSI: title in white on black slashed across red playing card-esque of a grey drawing of a girl above and a veiled person below

New to the ways of the Argosi, the tribe of wandering philosophers who seek to defeat evil by wit and guile, Ferius Parfax encounters a hideous plague – the Red Scream. Highly contagious, caught by the hearing of a deadly verse, it turns its victims into mindless monsters that destroy all human life they come into contact with.

With the help of a deaf boy whom she has saved from two horrifying victims of the plague, she sets out to find the source of the Red Scream and overcome it’s terrifying power. Along the way she is joined by another Argosi, Rosie, who purports to be so much wiser and more adept than Ferius, but who turns out to have her own dark secrets.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This is a book about the power of words, turned into violent weapons. Though the Red Verses are more obviously violent and brutal than is possible, thankfully, they are still a really powerful metaphor to explore prejudice and hatred, and how words can destroy and define.

FALL OF THE ARGOSI, as far as I can tell, is the final prequel book about Ferius Parfax, Kellen’s enigmatic teacher in the main SPELLSLINGER series. We see her end up firmly on the path that will lead her to Kellen in many years time. (I am not 100% confident, but I think the Jan’Tep mage who tormented her so in book 1 and she sees at the end of this book is Kellen’s father.)

Seeing her transform from guilty and still controlled by some of the fear lingering from events in from the first book into the powerful woman of the main series was so much fun. (Yes, that fear is not entirely gone, but it doesn’t control her actions in the same way by the end.)

Also slowly watching the swagger and drawl enter her voice across the book was so nice. I imagine that a talented audiobook reader would have pulled that out into something even more powerful (I may end up listening to this prequel duology at some point, as I loved the audiobooks of the main series so much.)

Another part I really enjoyed was getting a better understanding of Rosie, who is a very stern Argosi who doesn’t agree with Ferius’ methods in the main series, but they clearly have a history. This book is a large part of that history (though I suspect much happens between them between the two series. There is certainly space for Rosie to go from where she ends in this book and where she is in that main series.

Overall, this was another really enjoyable entry to the series.

Read my reviews of other books by Sebastien de Castell:

Argosi (this series):

Spellslinger (chronologically after this series):

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