The House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark

Title: The House of Sacrifice.
Series: Empires of Dust #3.
Writer(s): Anna Smith Spark.
Publisher: Orbit.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: August 13th, 2019.
Pages: 480.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780316511520.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

Previously in the Empires of Dust trilogy:
The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark.
The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark.


It is only right to chase after what has been deemed yours. Even it is an empire. Even it means taking lives, destroying villages, conquering a civilization. However, it is one thing to rise above an empire you’ve built form the ground up, another to rule, to maintain its reign, to build your legacy in history. For some, the latter is the greatest challenge they’ll face. This is where their weaknesses stick out like a sore thumb. This is where they prove their worth and fight for what they believe in. And sometimes, this is a task that not all rulers are capable of. Completing her Empires of Dust trilogy, author Anna Smith Spark presents an emperor at his peak but far from being safe and sane with a finale as bloody and intense as ever before.

What is The House of Sacrifice about? Marith Altrersyr has attained unimaginable power, conquering one empire after another. With a thirst for blood, his allies continue to thrive on this abundance of victory and strength. Nothing can stop them, especially not this ruler whose beloved right hand Thalia is by his side ready to extend the family at a moment’s notice. However, even with this much power, his mind is not at peace. Unstable, vulnerable, and ready to crack, his reign might not be forever. He too wishes happiness for himself and his significant other, even if it means embracing fatherhood. But can he really succumb to such a life? Is Thalia ready to let a bloodthirsty ruler become a father to an innocent child? Is the future as crimson and bleak as their path towards building an empire?

Unlike any other epic fantasy series, author Anna Smith Spark displays a unique and snappy writing skill that allows her to channel a brutally poetic odyssey where dominion over an empire does not mean the end of an emperor’s accomplishments. The protagonist is now at a spot in his life where everything he does fracture his very self and launches him on a profound psychological introspection filled with doubt, unable to identify his desires and struggling to keep his beloved Thalia content as they march into another conquest in itself, one that implicates a potential newborn. Pursuing the stunning world-building seen in the previous volumes, she continues to illustrate a desolate land filled with a rich history and loads of bloodshed, either in the history of certain regions or in the foreseeable future.

Her writing style is one that author Anna Smith Spark has learned to sharpen along the way as she brilliantly establishes a stunning tempo that makes for extremely brilliant pacing for a story that is filled with action and madness. Her action sequences in particular make for some of the most intense sequences, offering no respite to the reader, immersed in a fight where every little detail offers a vivid understanding of how the events evolve. From single word sentences to page-full paragraphs, her writing style is an excellent lull from the usual within grimdark fantasy and truly captures a lyrical bloodthirstiness throughout this novel. This is simply not for those looking for joyous questing. This is for those ready to dive headfirst in a pool of blood and an insane mind as they watch emperors rise and fall.

The House of Sacrifice is a dark and poetic finale to a trilogy that sees to bring to life the history of an empire.

Thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy for review!



37 thoughts on “The House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark

  1. “ This is for those ready to dive headfirst in a pool of blood and an insane mind as they watch emperors rise and fall” ….so…basically this book was written for me then?🤔🤔
    Haha…seriously, this sounds terrific indeed. I have never heard of this author, nor have I read any fantasy novels for a while (being stuck in the grim, far future of Warhammer 40k novels as of late), this sounds like one of those books, to change themes with for a while (that said, of course I first want to read the previous two installments. Love the cover as well! And of course it goes without saying, loved your review for it!😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hahahah this series might indeed be. 😉 I’m glad to hear that you’re still in the whole Warhammer 40k universe like Dawie and company! I have to plunge into those to see if they would appeal to me. I do hope you get the chance to try this one out if you ever crave for a character-driven story! Thanks for reading, my man. Always a pleasure to see you take the time to do so for my posts. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great review Lashaan! The book really seems captivating and for sure the author’s style contributes to it a lot. I am very curious to check this series out now! Thanks for sharing 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not familiar with this series or the author. And I haven’t yet ventured much into grimdark territory, though I’ve been curious to try it. Perhaps when I decide to enter that dark forest I’ll think back to this review and give this series a try. Good stuff, Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unfortunately for me I have not found the time – yet! – to move beyond the first volume of this series, but now that I’ve read your review I am firmly set on finishing it one of these days because it’s clear that the promises of that first book were not only fulfilled but expanded as well… And I’m happy to learn that the very peculiar writing style – one of the best elements of volume 1 – is a consistent feature of the overall story.
    Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What?! The Great Maddalena hasn’t been able to complete a trilogy?! 😮 😮 😮 If you enjoyed the first volume, then I believe the rest is history. You’ll have a blast with them and you’ll see how she just continues to perfect her art with each volume too. Hope you get around to them soon! Happy reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This book sounds sooooo good and totally speaks to me but why…oh…why…does it have to be a series!!?? I’m never good with series!! :(( So far I’m only about to complete RF Kuang’s The Poppy War series. Have you read it? Fantastic review as always, Lashaan!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaah at least this one is a completed trilogy! 😉 But I understand your preference for stand-alone stories! 😀

      I did read and enjoy The Poppy War! I never got around to the second book though but I hope to fix that in that future, alongside the upcoming third book. 😀 Thanks for reading, Jee! Always a pleasure to hear from you! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m hesitant to pick up this series; it’s been an uneven ride for many bloggers, and the vision of yet another series of bricks kind of puts me off. Nevertheless, you make it sound very exciting, Lashaan! Great review, as always! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely understand. The first book wasn’t a completely mind-blowing experience for me too. I just gave the second book a try because… why not… and I ended up getting used to the writing style and was curious to see where the story would go afterward too hahah Hope you figure out if it’s something you want to try out someday though! Thanks for reading, Ola! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay this review is making me question my choices – HOW THE HELL DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS SERIES?!? Because it sounds AWESOMEEEE!! I am definitely reading this one before the year’s end! 😍😍😍😍😍😍 LOVED THE REVIEW SO SO MUCH, Lashaan!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s been a long, long, extra long while since I’ve read a fantasy, world-building novel. I have been just “reading” them vicariously or rather indirectly through your reviews, alth to you don’t give spoilers. You might start looking into doing cliff notes some day. Imagine that, for those of us so entrenched in certain genres and have just so much time to in est in other genres, you can provide us the readers digest view of these fantasy epics. It can be the same length as your reviews since we just have so much time to read anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What have you been reading these past months instead, Karina? 😀 I can definitely understand not tackling as many fantasy books as I do but I find SFF to offer so much escapism that it’s hard to ever say no to it. On top of everything that comic books offer too, I’m definitely full of ways to escape our reality. 😀 Hahahaah that cliff notes idea sounds fun for those who just want to know what the stories are about without going through the author’s writing and all the meticulous building they do! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been reading suspense, thrillers, action books. The days of when I read science fiction and comic books was when I was in high school. I was really into them. Then I had gone through a period of Harlequin romance when I was in grade school going into high school and Danielle Steele type books when I was pregnant with my first child. I had gone through periods of staying with one genre for a period of time. Since I started working full time, I’ve just been heavily into the thrillers, although in between all these different periods, horror books have always been interspersed there. hahaha

        Liked by 2 people

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