Paladin’s Hope

(The Saint of Steel #3)

by T. Kingfisher

I freakin’ love the world of the Temple of the Rat. (don’t even get me started on Book One)

We follow another of the dead saint’s Paladins–Galen– this time as he and a lich-doctor (coroner) uncover the reasons mutilated dead bodies keep washing up along the riverbanks. I missed Beartongue and Zale (always need more Beartongue) but Galen was appropriately morose, protective, and enamored of Piper’s competence and compassion as a doctor.

There was also a deeper look into gnole customs and alot of gnole speech with the challenging pronouns (including the introduction of a gnole lich-doctor who is addressed with the pronoun ‘ours’ which was a tad confusing).

Both Piper and Galen are male (first in the series without a cis-straight romance as central) and I am not as familiar with those romantic conventions but it was the usual kind of summarized steaminess I’ve come to expect from Kingfisher in this series.

The most salient characteristic here is that there is a prolonged adventure in a subterranean dungeon involving puzzle rooms with automated deadly blades Galen, Piper, and the gnole guard have to navigate/survive. It was fun, but I couldn’t quite figure out the connection of the revelations they made about machines to the over-arching story of the smooth men menace. And while it did serve as a way to throw Galen and Piper together, it wasn’t quite as interesting to me as some of the long journeys the other couples in the first books took.

Still, T. Kingfisher always delivers on lovable & deadly morose warriors and the surrounding posse of friends involved in legal/political matters trying to keep them from suicide. So this book was super fun in terms of the fantasy escape I look for sometimes as a refresher in between reading books/series that require more emotional battery.a