Review: Pawn’s Gambit (Mortal Techniques #2) by Rob J. Hayes

MY ⭐️ RATING: 5/5

Format: Kindle Whispersync


The Mortal Techniques novels are a series of stand-alone stories that can be read entirely independently, set in the award-winning Mortal Techniques universe.
Merciless gods, vengeful spirits, immortal assassins, and empires at war collide. Five years ago, Yuu made a mistake that cost her everything. Once a renowned strategist and general, now she is on the run, royal bounty hunters snapping at her heels. But what if there was a way to get back what she lost, a way to bring back a murdered prince? Once a century, the gods hold a contest to choose who will rule from the Jade Throne. Each god chooses a mortal champion, and the fate of heaven and earth hangs in the balance. On a battlefield full of heroes, warriors, assassins, and thieves can Yuu survive long enough to learn the rules of the game, let alone master it? Pawn’s Gambit is a stand alone story set in the award-winning Mortal Techniques universe. It’s a wuxia adventure filled with heroes, gods, spirits, and magic.


A stand-alone story within the Mortal Techniques universe. Each century a contest of the Gods is held to decide who their ruler will be. Gods choose a champion, the contest is a scavenger hunt, but not just any scavenger hunt, one that will change the ruling god, but also how their world will be. The opening page prior to the prologue gave me serious Star Wars opening scrawl vibes and I’m all for it! If you read Never Die, you’ll see a familiar face right from the start, and if you haven’t read it… why haven’t you? Never Die Review. Once again, Kim Bretton does a flawless job with the voices and emotions throughout this novel, she may be my favorite narrator with how she can change voices and elicit emotion. Kudos to Mr. Hayes for having her do these two books so far!

“Mistakes are like wrinkles,” Natsuko said as she snapped together the last few pieces of the game and put them away in her pouch. “The older we get, the more we have, and we forget them until we look in a mirror.”

Mr. Hayes has done a really good job creating some interesting characters in both books of this series so far. As I stated in the Never Die review, I love the reluctant hero trope and Yuu fits right in there. On the run from her past now chosen by a god to be her Champion she must endure not only what’s to come searching for the artifacts but also surviving other Champions. Li Bang might be the funnest character so far in the series. I loved him so much, he gave a lot of comedic relief and I did wish he had a lot bigger of a role. What an absolute fantastic follow up to Never Die, Pawn’s Gambit is a flawless hit and will keep your eyes on the pages, on your phone or whatever you’re using to read/listen. There were a few parts that got me rolling and a few that had me emotional with sadness and pride, there was one part that was so tense it had the hairs on my arms standing straight up while my heart was thumping as hard as it could! Had me ALL OVER the place! Spirits of Vengeance, I’ll see you soon! 😍

Artwork by Felix Ortiz

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