Pawn’s Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

Some days I need to be careful where I check my email, because occasionally I get an email that causes me to emit a shrieking “hell yeah” followed by a fist pump in the air, a silly grin and a little dance. That is exactly what occurred the day I opened my email and discovered an arc of Pawn’s Gambit sitting there waiting for me. It was the ultimate early Christmas present. 

Pawn’s Gambit is book 2 in the Mortal Techniques series and while it is definitely an advantage to have read book 1, Never Die, they aren’t tied together so they can be read separately. Although I will say you would be doing yourself a massive disservice as there are little nods to book one throughout and its an absolute treat.

“There is a propensity to confuse heroism with rash action. They are not the same. A true hero acts not on impulse, but on rationale and consideration.”

The Gods are at it again, the time has come for their contest to see who will rule the Jade Throne for the next 100 years. Batu, the God of war has been ruling with an iron fist and he will do just about anything to get it back. Natsuko, the God of lost things, is determined to ensure that she will take the throne, and her champion, Yuu, is getting dragged along for the ride whether she likes it or not.

Look, I don’t think it is any secret that I absolutely adore Rob j. Hayes. Every book of his I have read so far has standout, strong, female characters and with Pawn’s Gambit he continues the tradition.

With Natsuko and Yuu, we have two very different characters, but both share an unrivalled mental strength. Their weapon is their mind, which is really cool and not at all what I expected. I loved their relationship and the way they bounced off each other. Yuu doesn’t trust Natsuko and with good reason, but she is able to work with her and when required she does her best to out think and out play her. Both woman play a long game and I really appreciated that. 

While Yuu as trying to win the contest we come across plenty of fantastic and well developed characters who each bring something special to the table. There is always someone to root for in this story. 

Pawn’s Gambit is a fast paced story, full of action. The fighting scenes are superbly written, bringing you right into the fray. There is suspense, lots of twists and turns and I never really knew for sure how things would end. 

Once again Hayes has developed a fascinating world, bringing to life Chinese mythology and history. I sat down to read this book and I didn’t move again until I was finished. Hayes continues delivering unique and brutal stories with characters that will have you laughing, squirming and cheering. I am so excited for this book to be released into the world on the 26th of January, I know it will be loved. 

Finally, once again Felix Ortiz and Shawn T. king have delivered amazing cover art and typography. They are both incredibly good at what they do and have really captured the feel of Pawn’s Gambit.

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