The Liars Knot by M.A. Carrick
Orbit, Paperback, £9.99
Reviewed by Mikaela Silk
Ren’s real face is starting to disappear under the masks of Renata, Arenza, and the Black Rose. Grey Serrado and the Rook are more at odds with each other than one would expect, considering they are the same person; the Rook will go to great lengths to maintain his secret identity, regardless of how much Grey might wish to share the truth. Vargo’s secrets are becoming less secret by the day, although his spider might just be relieved at the effects. Sedge is torn between knot bonds and blood ones, and even Tess is struggling to maintain the seemingly simple mask of a lady’s maid. With everyone holding their own secrets tight, it might take them a bit longer than necessary to work out that they all have the same (perhaps unreachable) goal.
There are so many twisted threads in this plot, not the least because almost every character has multiple personas and secrets. At first, this was daunting, but as I read on, it became a driving force as I waited eagerly to find out which secret would be unravelled next and how those involved would react. Ren, in particular, seems to struggle with these personas and the different aspects of her real personality that they each magnify. I found Arenza to be especially interesting as it gave insight into her Vraszenian heritage and the mixed emotions that this inspires in her. As well as expanding on Ren’s character, this also served to elaborate aspects of the world-building that are so vital to the politics of the novel.
Where the previous book focused on pattern reading, this one explored numinatria in greater depth, adding an understanding of the setting which was previously missing and allowing me to feel more like I belonged in the world set out. It also gave a better insight into the characters with knowledge of numinatria, particularly in the ways that they shared and used this knowledge.
Overall this rather chunky book is definitely worth persevering with, although I would recommend reading slowly! You will be well rewarded with multiple dramatic reveals and character relationships that you can’t help but root for (romantic and otherwise). The end of this book may leave you frustrated, but it will also leave you eager for the third book. The good news is that this is a trilogy, so the next book is also the final book, which we hope means it plans to tie up a few more loose ends.