Quick overview of Godsgrave:
Mia Corvere remains on her revenge mission to avenge the murders of her parents and brother but in the mean time she taking on small missions. (It’s difficult to say stuff because of spoilers so bear with me, folks). After a particularly bloody yet sexy kill, Mia barely escapes as she is confronted by a strange shadow man who tells her to seek the crown of the moon.
She’s then summoned by the Red Church for a new mission to find a mysterious map where she runs into her nemesis and betrayer of the Red Church, Ashlinn. After learning more important info than some dumb old map, Mia pretends to be looking for the map while she plans to be sold to a fighting house to become a gladiatii. Mia is sold to the wrong house so she has to work twice as hard to be able to compete in the final fight to get close enough to assassinate Scaeva and Duomo. While she slaves at house of Leona, she meets a new set of men and women who challenge her career choice.
On to the spoilers.
The beginning of the novel shifts back and forth between current times and four months prior.
As the story opens, a girl is burying bodies when a Teardrinker, a Dwerymeri woman, and her convoy tricks her and takes her to be sold. We quickly finds out that the girl is Mia and she purposely got herself abducted so that she could be sold to a gladiatii house. When the convoy is attacked, Mia saves Teardrinker and is then owed a favor. Drinker takes her to the slave market place to help her get sold to Leonidis. Mia instead is sold to Leonidis’ daughter, Leona, and Mia must quickly change her plan which is to get to the final battle to assassinate Scaeva and Duomo.
FOUR MONTHS PRIOR-Mia is on an assassination mission to kill Senator Aurelius’ son. While she is seducing him and his consort, Mia kills Aurelius’ son and barely escapes. While she’s hiding in the Necropolis, a hooded figure tells her lots of stuff but the main message was to Seek the Crown of the Moon (pg 34 in the ARC). She’s badly hurt and goes to get stitched up when she’s summoned back to the Mountain to get a new mission. She gets yelled at by Solis about killing the Dwerymeri King and is told to not kill Scaeva. She is told to find a map by finding The Dona and she is to take Jessamine with her.
They find the Dona where Mia befriends a 14 year old girl named Belle. Belle assists Mia after Mia promises her a better life with Mercurio. She sees the map exchange with The Dona and discovers the delivery woman is Ashlinn. They are about to dupe Ash when she foils their plan and escapes but Jess and Mia capture Ash. Ash kills Jess but Mia captures her and takes her to Mercurio. While in captivity, Ash explains that Scaeva pays the Red Church and so does Cardinal Duomo and that it’s against the Red Church laws for blades to kill each other. In other words, Scaeva and Duomo can’t kill each other but they both want sole power and are trying to bump off the other. Scaeva is the one who hired Mia to kill the senator’s son to eliminate the competition which enrages Mia even more. Mia of course doesn’t believe Ash and confronts Mercurio who tells her it’s true. Mia decides to forgo the map mission and Mercurio helps by lying to the Church. Mia also agrees to accept Ash’s help even tho she doesn’t trust her.
BACK TO CURRENT-Mia is sold to Leona. Mia also realizes that she killed Leona’s husband Remus. Leona’s house is actually Mia’s childhood home in Crow’s Nest where they take Mia to be a slave. Mia meets her trainer, Arkades, and her fellow slaves including: Sid, Bladesinger, Bryn and Byren (twins), and Maggot the 11 year old doctor. She also meets the undefeated gladiatii, Furian who is also a Darkin. When Mia is near him, she feels a pull but Furian seems to ignore this pull. Mia often uses shadows to immobilize opponents and during a fight, Furian caused Mia to not use this tactic. When she confronts Furian, he denies knowing anything.
Sid is Mia’s cellmate and she learns that he served under her father.
Mia often does her shield thing where she becomes invisible yet blind but since she grew up in the house, she knows her way around. She sneaks out a lot to go and plan with Ash who has decided to help her assassinate Scaeva and Duomo and is masquerading as Jess. On her invisible return to the castle, Mia overhears Arkades’ dislike for Mia accusing Leona of spending too much money to buy her. Leona only purchased Mia to outbid her father and beat him in the final battle but she’s bankrupt. Leona agrees to sell Mia. Mia also observes that Arkades loves Leona and she sees Leona sneaking into Furian’s room. Mia cannot get sold because she won’t be able to get to the final battle so before the “semi-finals,” Mia has Ash poison everyone including Furian so that Mia has to fight a retchwyrm and she wins. Leona will not sell Mia.
Mia begins to hear stories from the other gladiatii about slave revolts and the punishment was a hanging of all the slave on the land regardless of involvement. Mia begins to question her assassination mission because she’s inadvertently made friends with her fellow slaves and doesn’t want them to die b/c of her. Mia confides in Ash and Ash makes a move but Mia refuses because she doesn’t trust her.
Because of her defeat of the retchwyrm, Mia is invited to a fancy dinner. During dinner, Leonidis challenges a fight between Mia and his fighter a Silkin. A Silken is a 7 foot tall woman with six eyes and six arms that each have a blade. Her blood is also acidic. Mia tries to fight but she can’t compete with six knives so Leona agrees to challenge his Silkin in the next battle with three of her best-Mia, Furian, and Bladesinger.
Sid figures out Mia’s identity but he doesn’t bring it up again.
Mia’s tired of being alone and beds Ash and discovers the mysterious map is arkemicalled on her back so if she dies, the map disappears.
In the next battle, the twins fight first and Byren dies.
In the main battle, Ash did recon prior to the battle and poisoned swords. The Silkin pushes Bladesinger over the side of the raised arena after slashing her arm but Mia saves Singer, which is unheard of. The Silkin has bled all over Furian which causes him to be burned with acid. The Silkin is about the kill Mia and Singer when she pleads Furian to use shadows which he reluctantly does and Mia chops off the Silkin’s head. Mia is slashed across the face and she fears Ash won’t think she’s beautiful; Singer may never fight again; and Furian is near death.
While being subdued for the pain, Mia begins to feel Furian’s pain. She is able to mix pain meds much to everyone’s shock. A while later, Mia realizes that she wasn’t feeling Furian’s pain, she was taking his pain away thus discovering a new skill she has as a Darkin.
Back at Crow’s Nest, Arkades finds Leona’s gown in Furian’s room thus discovering their affair. The Magistrae, Leona’s maid, tells Leona about this.
While addressing her gladiatii, Leona receives a message from her father that says he’s paid all her debts but will allow her to keep the house and her gladiatii. If she misses a payment everything becomes his. He also sends a bottle of wine. We learn that her father beat her mother to death with this particular brand of wine while she watched. Leona was also beaten by her father as a child.
Mia asks Sid why he never asks about her true identity and he eventually tells her that her father was gay and that he and the man he was trying to make king were lovers. He also tells her that her mother loved lots of men. He tells her he was branded a coward because he didn’t believe in the rebellion and wanted out. He didn’t think thousands of people should die so that one man could become king.
Ash tells Mia that she lovers her.
While visiting Maggot, Furian, and Singer in the infirmary, Maggot asks Mia if the ever thinks about the people she kills. Mia pauses. Mia turns down her dinner and gives it to the dog and he begins to bleed at the mouth. Mia discovers that the food has been poisoned and Maggot, the dog, and another slave dies.
Mia is first blamed because this is the second time she conveniently skips dinner when everyone is poisoned. After a search, the poison is found in Arkades room wrapped in Leona’s gown found under Furian’s bed. Leona’s kicks Ark out.
When Furian wakes, Mia talks to him and learns that before he got to Leona’s house he was a slave captor and seller. He did awful things and while he was about to push a priest off the boat, the priest said he’d pray for them. This caused Furian to rethink his life choices, save the priest, and find god. He then sold himself to Leona. Mia tells him that he can’t absolve himself by killing others but he doesn’t buy into that.
Sid finds out that to make a payment to her father, Leona is going to sell Sid, Bryn, Singer and other slaves to fleshhouses and a fighting house that is guaranteed death. Sid plans to escape and asks Mia if she’ll help but she initially says to wait. She then changes her mind. The actual escape is told from Sid’s POV and Mia betrays them to Leona. They are held prisoner on the boat to the final battle.
The Not Cat and the Wolf shadow have an interesting chapter where we find out they were other shadows before Mia and Cassius and they worry if they are having ill effects on Mia. (Still unsure about that chapter.)
Before the final battle, Mia has to execute the betrayers in front of the audience. They are given rusty blades and they are weak and starved. The execution is told in Leona’s POV. Mia kills them.
During the final battle, only one can survive which means at some point Furian and Mia must fight each other. The battle field is on water in boats. At some point, Leona realizes that Mia isn’t stabbing opponents, she’s blocking and she also realizes that the blade Mia holds is not the one Leona gave her. To save Mia from an opponent, Furian grabs Mia’s fallen blade to stab him only to see that the blade is retractable. Leona also sees this from the stands. Mia kills Furian and wins.
Meanwhile, Mercurio and Ash are saving the slaves that were supposed to be executed by Mia. Belle is there the meet them to take them to Teardrinker.
Mercurio goes to the stands to bring Leona a bottle of wine. The same bottle her father gave her. He also brings Leona a glass of the wine that has a crow and swords on the bottom. He tell Leona to vacate Crow’s Nest and where she can find Arkades. Made to discover that it was Magistrae who poisoned everyone and not Arkades, Leona gives Magistrae the poison wine and pours her father and his friends the poisoned wine and they all die.
On the podium to receive her winning medal and freedom, Mia is met with Duomo and Scaeva but Scaeva has his son with him. Mia thinks he looks like her mother and recalls the conversation she had as her mother lay dying, “He’s with his father.” Mia realizes that her brother, Jonnen, is Scaeva’s son. Mia reveals her true identity and stabs Duomo to death. Scaeva reacts be throwing Jonnen to Mia but she stabs him as she and Jonnen fall over into the water.
THE ENDING: Ash gets to their hideout in the necropolis and is met by Drucilla “Lady of Blades,” and four blades-Aalea, Spiderkiller, Mouser, and Solis. They tell her that they captured Mercurio. She tells them that the map disappears of they kill her. Then out steps Scaeva. The man Mia killed was his doppleganger and they all knew Mia’s plan. Scaeva let her go thru with the plan to kill Duomo since he couldn’t. He also reveals that he’s Mia’s father too. Ash escapes with a bomb and flees but they catch up. Someone throws a poison dagger at Ash’s leg but the shadow figure emerges and decapitates all four blades. The shadow man is Tric.