September 2023 Book Review

Complex Characters in a Complex World

Bookstagrammer Melanie De Anda Reviews M.K. Lobb’s Seven Faceless Saints



As an avid fantasy reader, I found myself on the edge of my seat trying to solve the murders along with main characters Damian Venturi and Rossana Lacertosa, also referred to as Roz, in M.K. Lobb’s Seven Faceless Saints. A Young Adult fantasy novel set in the city of Ombrazia, ruled by saints and their disciples, Damian and Rossana find each other on opposite sides of the system. The pair work together to uncover who is behind murders occurring around the city. As they dive deep into their investigation, they slowly begin to discover that the truth is far more sinister than they originally thought.

In a GoodReads comment Lobb described her characters as such: “Ros is my rage, Damian is my regret. They’re both a little messy, but so am I.” When it came to the connection between Damian and Rossana, there were so many scenes where I found myself giggling at the conversations they had because Rossana is so bold, while Damian is more on the shy-side. Although they started off against each other, history is hard to forget! Knowing that the two main characters have a past created an engaging tension between them. When they began working together, it was difficult for them to look past their feelings for each other with so many things left unsaid especially after I discovered what had occurred!

While you can expect to find the enemies-to-lovers trope, it is brief and very quickly the characters’ feelings begin to shift. I found myself internally screaming when I would read one of their POV’s. One character believed one thing, the other thought the opposite and it was so heartbreaking seeing how they both felt but being unable to express it because of their circumstances.

Although I don’t frequently read murder mysteries myself, adding a dash of fantasy definitely helped keep me engaged while also exposing me to the mystery thriller and horror genre. With that being said, I did feel that the pace of the storyline was a bit slower than what I would’ve liked, which is not necessarily a bad thing when trying to introduce readers to an intricate world with two characters that also have a past. While not a flaw, the book definitely had moments where I began to feel a bit disengaged.

The author takes her time telling the story, and makes sure that as readers we have a good understanding of how the world she is building works and ties in with her characters. We learn so many things about the main characters without being overloaded with information all at once.

I have a feeling that this book is barely the tip of the iceberg of what is yet to unfold in the Seven Faceless Saints world. Especially considering the ending left me shocked and with so many questions!

About the Reviewer

Melanie De Anda is 23 years old living in the midwest. She is a lover of books and writing, and her favorite series include The Folk of the Air by Holly Black, The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stievfvater, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. She loves anything fantasy related, and is a huge fan of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. Outside of the book world she works in marketing since graduating from Iowa State University in 2022. She loves traveling, being outdoors, attending concerts, and maintaining an active lifestyle! When she’s not doing any of those, her head is probably buried in a book.

Bound to Enjoy

Seven Faceless Saints is a combination of fantasy, horror and mystery thriller. If you enjoyed Six of Crows or Wicked Saints, this might be the perfect fit for you! Overall, this book is perfect for a 13-18 audience that is interested in reading a plot-driven, intricate storyline that is not overshadowed by the romance between the characters.

Highlights (Literally):
“Damian wondered, perhaps, if the saints had seen fit to let him live for this very reason: so that he could love Roz Lacertosa.” (272)

“Once you have known true grief, you don’t get better. You don’t recover – you only grow
stronger. You learn to bear the things that seemed unbearable. You find a way to rebuild
yourself, even with crucial pieces missing.” (126)

One Last Thing…
I do want to emphasize that although Seven Faceless Saints is written for a Young Adult
audience, because of its horror element it comes with many content warnings, including:
various types of violence, graphic descriptions of blood/bodies, PTSD/Flashbacks, descriptions of war, prejudice, religious intolerance, mentions of self-harm and death.

Make sure to check out the full list of content warnings on mklobb.com.