There's a Dagger in Your Back, by Stacey Willis

natsbookshelves's review

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adventurous mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Thank you Stacey for sending me an ARC copy to review!

The beginning of this book kinda reminded me of the show (I haven’t read the books so won’t compare to them) Altered Carbon! Vibes wise, not so much anything else but they both have detectives! I quite liked this as I enjoyed the show, so if you’ve seen it, I recommend this book!

One thing I wasn’t expecting but liked about There’s a Dagger in Your Back was the spice! Some scenes are verryyy spicy!

There is a lot of characters in this book hut luckily the book comes witha  handy guide, with pronounciations, there is also an awesome map! 

There is quite a bit of action and we get to see it from different points of view, through Raffe and Zemir. There are also different creatures such as syrens, yet this book takes place in modern times which I liked to see out together.

I did enjoy this book, especially the last 150ish pages! So muuuch happened!

Overall, I am giving There’s a Dagger in Your Back 4 stars!

natslibrary's review

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I would like to thank the author for the e-ARC copy of this book!

Here's the thing; this was a good fantasy book. Stacey created a new world, new language in a way, new creatures and a new religion and the detail in all of these were phenomenal. I will admit though that I found some parts of the book, especially the first 30% too descriptive and filler. I get why because the author had to explain this whole new world to the readers but it did slow my reading process down by a lot. The author also used a lot of different adjectives like 'the iman' or 'the assassin' that sometimes the text became either too exhausting or confusing.

However, the last 40% was perfect. It was full of action, betrayals, unexpected twists, gods and so much more. I couldn't put my phone down. Lorrin was an interesting and different type of a main character and I will say that I really enjoyed her story. Same goes for Zemir, it was cool to see her conflicted thoughts on life and find out the truth behind her family. All characters had flaws which made them so interesting.

Overall, it was a great fantasy book and I can't wait to find out what happens in book two because Hawk has me intrigued!

chloefeatherr's review

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adventurous tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


I really wanted to enjoy this but unfortunately it just didn’t grip me like I had hoped. 

The plot and world building were very promising but as I progressed, I found it wasn’t holding my interest as much. I think ultimately, it needed more thorough structural and contextual editing to ease the flow of character development, the story arc, and the overall reasoning behind certain developments and choices made in the book. 

I admire the effort and level of detail put into creating the urban fantasy world with complex histories and relations. I think this amount of world building however would have better suited a series rather than a stand alone, so that we could be more seamlessly eased into the world over time. 

There were moments however where I didn’t fully grasp why certain things were happening or what the main plot was supposed to be. The focus of the narrative tended to veer off in different directions then stop short and abruptly jump into a new path, leaving the writing feeling fragmented. 

One specific thing I need to mention is that the overuse of nouns instead of names started to not only confuse but irritate me (The Iman, The Blonde, The Detective, The Assassin, The Officer, The Syren, The Seelie, The Favoured for example) as there was often entire paragraphs where I was didn’t actually know who was talking. Especially when there are so many characters introduced in this book. This created a distance between the reader and the characters, meaning I wasn’t as gripped as I had hoped to be. 

Another thing I noticed was that the writing style and switching of perspectives felt structurally clunky. For example, we would be reading one of Lorrin’s chapters (so you would expect it to be her POV) but it was in third person and the narration was omniscient, so it would drop inside Zemir’s head and share her thoughts/feelings (as though we were reading her first person perspective but inside Lorrin’s chapter), then bounce back into Lorrin’s head and read her POV, then be in third person again talking about them as though from a distance. 

I don’t think this helped me take to either of the main characters to be honest, and I found their personalities to be quite capricious as the book progressed.

I think this work has a lot of promise and could be a very engaging urban fantasy, as the world and character relationships are there to be moulded into something great.

Thank you to the author for a gifted e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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darklight_julez's review

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I'm so gutted because I have LOVED Stacey's previous work but I just could not get into this at all.

I feel like it didn't grip me and I found the over changing of words really distracting for example:
Magic to magik, siren to syren, witch to wyche, fairy to faery, faith to fayth, cure to kure. 
It just didn't seem necessary and I was a bit thrown by all of them being changed.

The narritive also felt 'off' as there were instances where 'the iman' and 'the blonde' were constantly used and when there are two imans in one scene it felt confusing.

The story itself didn't grip me at all. I felt like it was missing something and felt almost bland to me. 

I think the premis of the book is good but it needed more editing and things to be looked at more closely.

I will still be support Stacey in her other series (Daughter of Fire) as I loved those books and feel that that's where she excelled as an Author.