The City and the City by China Mieville

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad finds deadly conspiracies beneath a seemingly routine murder. From the decaying Beszel, he joins detective Qussim Dhatt in rich vibrant Ul Qoma, and both are enmeshed in a sordid underworld. Rabid nationalists are intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists dream of dissolving the two into one.

My impressions:

This one is worth reading just for the fantastically original world-building. Two cities, enveloped around each other and yet divided by more than just a wall or a border – that premise charmed me sufficiently to make me forget about a schematic, noir murder mystery and not especially well-shaped-out characters. After reading the book I am still at a loss: were Beszel and Ul Quoma in the same place but in two different dimensions? Was it the same dimension but two, slightly opposite places? Why the inhabitants were so adamant to preserve that strange status quo? I grant it, they were two separate nations speaking two different languages. They didn’t like each other much, not quite. And yet…imagine seeing, and doing your damnedest to ignore, people from other city walking your streets or streets running parallel to yours, day in day out…you can notice their buildings, their cars, their shops and cafes. You can notice their children and pets. You can even visit as a tourist and then you’ll be faced with even a greater challenge – ignoring streets and people from your own motherland, visible but completely unattainable…

Mieville gives an absolutely brilliant interpretation of segregation, cultural differences, political influence, governmental authority etc. in his creation of that unique world. If only he could populate it with equally fascinating characters…Philosophy aside, I didn’t care much about the murder victim and the perpetrator. What was even stranger, Tyador Borlu, the cool police investigator trying to solve the case, left me lukewarm as well. He was average. He was ordinary. He had two mistresses and that piece of info didn’t make me bat my eyelid because neither of the ladies was present as a character, just as a flavour. To find the killer, Borlu must go to the neighboring city of Ul Qoma and team with Qussim Dhatt of the Murder Squad. Qussim seemed to be Borlu’s alter ego, perhaps a bit harsher and crueler but roughly the same sameness cop template. If it were deliberate I would applaud it but I think it wasn’t.

The concept of the Breach was also flawed a bit. Part police force, part bogey man, the Breach enforce the status quo, keeping people from going back and forth between cities with impunity. Still I had an impression the author himself didn’t think that idea through, leaving plenty of questions unanswered.

Final verdict:

If you love an original world-building above anything else in your fiction it is your book. If you are rather into believable characters you can identify with, The City and the City will bore you. I liked its weirdness well enough but I am not sure Mieville will be becoming my favourite author any time soon.

Posted in book review, contemporary, crime, dystopia, fantasy, philosophical, urban fantasy | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Movie review: Splice (2009) directed by Vincenzo Natali

Product info:

Geneticists Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) are young, successful scientists who specialize in creating hybrids of living species. When they propose the use of human DNA, their pharmaceutical company bosses forbid it, forcing them to conduct experiments in secret. The result is Dren, a creature with amazing intelligence and physical attributes. At first, Dren exceeds their wildest dreams, but as she begins to grow at an accelerated rate, she threatens to become their worst nightmare.

My impressions:

A pair of most childish scientists ever are creating something forbidden in a biotech company lab directed by the most lax  managers and with the worst security on Earth. It would be actually funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. Do they think about consequences of their deeds? Of course not, they’re like overgrown children, right? Their efforts, which are nothing more than glamorized supervision of computer processes any teenage biology nerd could have  performed, are crowned with a creature which would make Frankenstein proud. Dren.

She is a demi-human crossbreed who soon makes lives of Clive and Elsa very complicated indeed. Because, surprise, surprise, they hadn’t thought the whole experiment through. They had’t even planned their next step or two, like preparing the right environment for quickly growing Dren outside the lab. Don’t forget that it was an illegal experiment from the very beginning and our pair of geniuses didn’t even ask themselves what would they do with the new creature, where would it sleep and exercise. Honestly, a good pet owner does far more homework before acquiring a new dog or cat than those two.

As a result Dren lands in an isolated, decrepit farm, almost all on her own (it’s a female until it isn’t, one of few good twists) and, of course, she is hardly impressed. Her two creators soon are losing the last vestiges of control, bickering among themselves bitterly who is to blame for that situation. One blunder is chasing another up to a tragic (but predictable) finale. At that point I was already royally bored and rather disgruntled.

Final verdict:

I grant it: the premise was terrific and the actors did what they could to make it float. Still,  I personally found the movie disappointing. I feel all those good ideas and valid questions concerning such sticky issues like bioethics, abortion, corporate-sponsored science weren’t taken as far as they should. Meh.

Posted in contemporary thriller/horror, horror/comedy, movie review, sci-fi | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Age of Ra (Pantheon 01) by James Lovegrove

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Ancient Egyptian gods have defeated all the other pantheons and claimed dominion over the earth, dividing it into warring factions. Lt. David Westwynter, a British soldier, stumbles into Freegypt, the only place to have remained independent of the gods’ influence. There, he encounters the followers of a humanist leader known as the Lightbringer, who has vowed to rid mankind of gods and their shackles. As the world heads towards an apocalyptic battle, there is far more to this freedom fighter than it seems…

My impressions:

I didn’t have high expectations concerning this one but while reading it I found several features which made me impressed. First of all the author’s knowledge concerning Egyptian gods. I am hardly an expert so perhaps a real Egyptologist would spot a mistake or two; still for a lay person who has just read several books concerning the topic Lovegrove’s take of the Egyptian pantheon was simply spot-on. I don’t only think here about the names and attributes but also about the way of thinking and very human emotions Ra, Set, Nephtys, Osiris and Isis displayed.

The other asset was the weaponry, a clever mixture of old and new technologies, and, overall, the fighting scenes, very dynamic and interesting to read. If only the same could be said about the characters…

Sad but true: neither David Westwynter nor Lightbringer nor Zaphirah could be called three-dimensional or well-rounded. Their development never seemed plausible to me and I found them generally a tad too underwhelming. What’s more, the ending was simply laughable, with a cop-out chasing another cop-out as if Lovegrove couldn’t wait to finish this one. Pity, because at some point, right at the beginning, I was hoping the author would defy at least some cliches. Still the cover art is really good.

Final verdict:

An original idea but the execution I found rather so-so; I would recommend this one mainly to fans of military action who also like ancient history and gods. For me it was, unfortunately, only ‘meh’

Rating icon. A hairless cat is wearing a santa hat and a sour expression. On the hat reads: meh.

Posted in adventure, alternate history, book review, fantasy, meh, rating | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri (Inspector Montalbano 11)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Food, love, and murder-Sicilian style-in the gripping eleventh installment of The New York Times bestselling Montalbano mystery series.

Things are not going well for Inspector Salvo Montalbano. His relationship with Livia is once again on the rocks and-acutely aware of his age-he is beginning to grow weary of the endless violence he encounters. Then a young woman is found dead, her face half shot off and only a tattoo of a sphinx moth giving any hint of her identity. The tattoo links her to three similarly marked girls-all victims of the underworld sex trade-who have been rescued from the Mafia night-club circuit by a prominent Catholic charity. The problem is, Montalbano’s inquiries elicit an outcry from the Church and the three other girls are all missing.

My impressions:

I jumped right in the middle of a very long series (this one is the eleventh part and not the last, far from it) and felt immediately at home. Say what you might, Mr. Camilleri knows how to narrate a story, capturing along the way the Italian climate from deep south (Sicily). Still while I liked the protagonist, Salvo Montalbano, and his love life crisis,  the criminal case he had to solve was quite another story.

A mysterious woman, young and pretty, with a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder, was as good a victim as anybody but the treatment her sad remnants got sometimes bordered callousness. I know, I know, all those old policemen are the same, who would care about a young immigrant from Russia even if she was beautiful enough to catch more than one dispassionate glance. But it grated, time and again, especially when confronted with all those descriptions of Mediterranean food and wine consumed on a tessellated patio of a villa. Yes, the Italian police stations might lack gasoline, the courts might have no paper, the hospitals no thermometers but still plenty of hopefuls from different countries think Italy is the garden of Eden. And then they find out to their cost that it is like any other country.

Final verdict:

My feelings are mixed – I was drawn and repulsed by the protagonist in equal measure. Perhaps I am going to try another part of this series to clarify some points.

Posted in book review, contemporary, cozy mystery, crime | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets 01) by Jennifer Anne Davis

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion—she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as the royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona—that of a vigilante—to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.

Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

My impressions:

A boring, predictable plot. Cardboard characters. A Mary-Sue Princess with Mary-Sue male friends. Do I have to tell you more? I think I do…a long rant is coming, beware!

Here it comes, my first grievance: if I took a sip of champagne every time somebody in this book requested a private moment with Princess Allyssa or said that he or she had something important to tell her I would get drunk after two-three chapters, perhaps even sooner. Honestly, this one was reading like a Turkish soap opera cum American middle-class coming-to-age saga about happy, happy people being threatened by ugly Russek. By the way that word, Russek, was one of more ingenious tricks of the author. Do you know that in Polish slang Rusek (without doubling the ‘s’ letter) means a Russian man? Ha, ha, I knew you didn’t! So now you understand better why they rape and kill every woman and every child they encounter! They are ugly, unredeemable, brutes! They were born that way, silly devils!

Ok, I had my moment of fun, let’s return to business at hand. We get a sixteen-year-old high school prom queen princess called Allyssa, the only child of a rubber duck emporium CEO empress Rema, the ruler of Emperion (yeah, that’s what her empire is called so you don’t mix it with a kingdom, a duchy, an earldom or, heavens forbid, a state) and Darmik her gung-ho veteran turned gym trainer mil-tech spouse. Allyssa has an unusual hobby – she escapes the palace at night to roam the streets of the capital and catch thieves. Impressive and cute, right? That thrill when you are risking your life and the future of the whole empire just to pursue a common miscreant…But wait…why do you need a princess acting as a thief-catcher? Search me. From my point of view it is the finest proof Allyssa is an airhead and her mom a very poor ruler. If the City Guard are not doing their job properly an empress should react. If a crown princess is risking her life without a very good reason, just because she wants to experience some illegal thrills, an empress should react as well.

But wait, Allyssa is hardly alone. Our lovely princess, like every Mary Sue worth her salt, has no female friends, no ladies-in-waiting or a court. Still she is often in a company of a boy her age called Grevik  (just a friend) and another boy her age called Marek (once again a Polish name and once again, only a friend, no benefits) who  is also the head and, it seems, the only member of the princess’s personal guard (one-person personal guard for a crown princess? My mind boggles).

In the second part hormones fluctuate in the air, kiss, procreate and multiply (cue in Turkish seraglio music and half-naked, nubile odalisques dancing cancan). Plenty of proper princes come sniffing after our girl because she is of a marriageable age and marrying a future empress is always so en vogue. Apart from that nasty Russek barbarians are waiting to conquer and slaughter you if you don’t gain the protection of the empire of Emperion (quite a mouthful, isn’t it?).

After a while arrives prince Odar of Fren – a very handsome, very cocky Gary Stu, dressed according the latest fashion. He and Allyssa will hate each other. His squire Jarvik is even worse: handsome, strong and skilled, blunt to the point of being rude, asking personal questions and requiring private moments with Allyssa more and more often…do you feel the ‘Pauper and the Prince’ vibes? *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*. Of course Allyssa hates Jarvik even more than she hates Odar. And then, predictably, she stops. She’ll have to cooperate with the obnoxious prick and kiss him just to see how good she is in kissing-obnoxious-pricks department. Is she good? You bet. The novel ends with the most silly, the most obvious and the most predictable, no-tension cliffhanger I’ve ever seen in YA fantasy romance novels…

Final verdict:

Yes, I read this one so you don’t have to, knowing well it might be not pretty. Thank you very much, dear Bloddeued, for pointing this beauty to me! If you’re asking yourself whether I am planning to acquire the next part my answer is: not even if you paid me and donated a crate of champagne!

Rating icon. A stack of books and the words a total failure and an outline of a skull and bones drawn over them.

Posted in adventure, book review, chicklit, fairy tale, historically-flavoured, romance, urban fantasy, YA | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The King of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief 03) by Megan Whalen Turner

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king’s caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

My impressions:

I liked the first book, I loved the second one but I was disappointed by the third. Why? Because it felt contrived. It felt as if the author had ideas for just, say, one third of the plot and, for, some reasons, decided to stretch them into a fully-fledged novel. As a result the third part of Gen’s adventures, this time as a young ruler, bored me almost to DNF.

The narration switched to another POV – that of a young officer in the Attolian army called Costis who gets entangled in schemings of the court. Costis is neither bright nor especially savvy so, for most of the time, he feels lost like a child in the fog. I think that particular character could have been developed into something good but once again, for some reasons he remained the same from the beginning to the very end, just changing his personal opinion about the new king after a while.

Other characters seemed equally flat. Gen, even if he appeared from time to time like an omniscient demi-god who can decipher thoughts and intentions of everybody around him, spent half of the book in bed, recovering from wounds and the other half pretending his ineptitude. Which wasn’t especially funny. The villain of the story, Erondites, never made a strong appearance, and his conspirators were bland and completely forgettable. The plot dragged and dragged, meandering without any reason – somehow the author was compelled to describe every waking hour of Costis and the rest but didn’t progress beyond a period of three months. Perhaps it would work better if The King of Attolia was a middle book, preparing the reader for the finale grande but as a final chord it sounded weak.

Final verdict:

What a pity: a good YA series ends with disappointment, all good ideas dwindling to almost nothing. At least such was my private impression.

Other books by Megan Whalen Turner reviewed on this blog:

Posted in adventure, book review, fantasy, historically-flavoured, meh, rating | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Queen of Attolia (the Queen’s Thief 02) by Megan Whalen Turner

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes’s Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered…she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.

Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.

…at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago…

My impressions:

I love the cover art – those hands are lovely and the colours simply resonate with me. What’s more, the content is almost as good as the cover.

It’s a different book from the first part, told in third-person instead of first and featuring a romance story arc. What’s more important it has Irene, the Queen of Attolia and that young woman was completely able to capture my imagination and keep me reading. Eugenides grew up a lot and proved to be an interesting character to follow, mainly because the author wasn’t afraid to torture him a bit. Ok, not just a bit to be honest. It is a far darker story, with some disturbing scenes especially for a person with vivid imagination. Mind you that book doesn’t feature one single sexual encounter. Well, that YA label is a bit of a misnomer. I’d be rather careful with recommending that novel to any teenager. Perhaps I am too cautious but I caught very adult vibes in here and rather serious topics, like how to deal with disability, how to forgive and forget and how to reconstruct your life after major trauma like torture.

The plot featured some unexpected twists but only until the middle of the book. The ending was obvious – at least to me. Still I enjoyed it immensely. Overall the second part was so much better than the first, even though the fantasy world build was a bit limited by current action.

Final verdict:

A rare YA series with the second part better than the first (and the first wasn’t bad in the first place). Now I want to read the final book rather badly.

Other books by Whalen Turner reviewed on this blog:

The Thief

Posted in adventure, book review, fantasy, historically-flavoured, YA | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Movie review: Idiocracy (2006) directed by Mike Judge

Product info:

n 2005, average in every way private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) who works as an Army librarian is selected to take part in a secret military experiment. They want to put him in hibernation for a year along with a black prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph). Both Joe and Rita don’t have any family to speak of so they are perfect subjects of an experiment which might fail and fail it will.

The slumbering duo is forgotten in their strange metal, coffin-like  casings when the base they are stored on is closed down. Time is flowing and they are left in stasis until 2505. When they finally wake up, they discover the average intelligence of humans has decreased so much that Joe is now the smartest man in the world. Will he become the ruler supreme? Or maybe he will be murdered for fun?

My impressions:

I haven’t heard about that movie for quite a long time and small wonder: it was not screened for critics and its distributor, 20th Century Fox,  was accused of abandoning it. Why ? In The New York Times, Dan Mitchell argued that Fox might have shied away from that cautionary tale about low-intelligence dysgenics, because the company did not want to offend either its viewers or potential advertisers portrayed negatively in the film.

No matter: as soon as I saw it mentioned on my friend’s blog (thanks Heidenkind/Tasha! What would I do without you?) I wanted to watch it.  Why? Imagine a dystopian society  which is devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights. Even legitimate businesses like Starbucks and official TV news channels are peddling smut. The human population has become morbidly stupid, speak only low registers of English peppered with swear words,  and are named after corporate products. A case in question: president of the United States, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, an ex pro wrestler and an ex porn star. Even their clothes more often than not feature brand names and company logos. Now imagine a ‘normal’ human being catapulted to that world just to see how his worst nightmares became true. Scary but also funny, don’t you think?

My personal reception after watching Idiocracy was mixed. While I adored many spot-on satirical moments and the cutting social critique I was less than impressed by too many loopholes in the plot. Then came the finale of the movie. It seemed not only saccharine-sweet but also strangely depressing for a light comedy. Basically the movie ended with the Americans being so lazy that they had to rely on a ‘superhero everyman’ from the past in order to grow crops, get fed and solve their mountains-of-rubbish problems. I wish the director made it more difficult for them. I think Joe should have returned to his reality and tried to prevent the worst while he still could…

Final verdict:

An interesting sci-fi comedy I enjoyed watching even if I had some issues afterwards. I recommend it, especially as it can be rented. If you aren’t persuaded by the trailer, go and read about 10 things ‘Idiocracy’ predicted would happen and sadly already have.

Posted in comedy drama, dystopia, movie review, sci-fi | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cliffhangers – a dilemma

A cliffhanger is a type of narrative or a plot device in which the end is curiously abrupt without offering any resolution of conflicts. Usually it involves leaving the main character(s) in a difficult or dangerous situation. As a result suspense is created at the very end of the novel, leaving the readers in such a state that they could not help but to ask, “What will happen next?” This type of end is common to the serially published novels and TV serials.

Cliffhanger plot device shouldn’t be mixed with an ambiguous or open ending, when the reader is left to decide what’s happened next for artistic reasons or with a dangling plot lines ending that ties up the majority of the story or the main conflict but leaves some things unresolved so the reader/viewer knows that the story will be continued but, e.g. with another set of main leads.

Origin and all the rest

In 1930s episodes of early film serials often ended with characters in desperate situations such as hanging literally off the edge of a cliff. Still that plot device is much older; actually it has roots in ancient oriental literature. In the collection of stories known as “One Thousand and One Nights” the king Shehreyar, disillusioned by an unfaithful woman, ordered that every virgin girl he married should be hanged after their first night together. The clever Scheherazade devised a plan to end that slaughter of innocent spouses. She married the king and told him a story  every night which ending would be left unresolved. It worked like a wonder: Shehreyar postponed the order of execution every morning, anxious to hear the rest of the story. That situation lasted 1001 nights so about three years before Scheherazade managed to persuade the king that not every woman was stupid and/or unfaithful and she was a wife worth keeping. Why she didn’t organize a coup d’etat in that time and became an independent ruler instead of that revengeful idiot is beyond me. Oh wait, I know. She was permanently sleep-deprived, poor thing.

Still you must agree such a situation is rather exceptional – I mean rarely authors, directors and writers face such an alternative. Usually they just want you to buy another part of the series, watch the next episode of a serial or return to the next act of a play. Neither William Shakespeare nor Thomas Hardy were above such tricks knowing pretty well that most people are curious creatures and they would spend and spend in order to satiate once aroused curiosity.

Personally I consider a cliffhanger a mean, cheap and rather desperate way to ensure your next piece of fiction will sell. I hate them with few exceptions. Why? First of all I find it extremely annoying – I haven’t been reading a book, spending a considerable amount of time among its heroes and heroines, only to find more questions than answers at the very end of it. It’s unfair. In my view it’s also bit like an extortion. An author says: ‘I know you’re curious but I won’t tell you this or that if you don’t pay me more’. Dear authors,  I appreciate a satisfying resolution. If your prose/series is good I will buy another part without such ham-handed ‘encouragement’. On the other hand if it is bad, nothing will force me to invest more money in it even if you leave all your characters suspended from different roofs and cliffs.

An even more vicious form of cliffhangers is sometimes featured in romance series when the author makes you guess for several installments who the main character will end up with. And then they usually end up with the wrong kind of dude/gal leaving me completely disgruntled.

What about you? Do cliffhangers ruin a story for you or you don’t mind them at all? Does it bother you to know that you’ll be left guessing at the end of a novel for some time, sometimes as long as a year or even several years? Have you ever bought another part of a series just because the previous one ended with a cliffhanger and you were curious what would happen next? Were you happy with the answer/solution or were you rather disappointed?

My sources:

Posted in literature theory | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Knight’s Shadow (Greatcoats 02) by Sebastien de Castell

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

A few days after the horrifying murder of a duke and his family, Falcio val Mond, swordsman and First Cantor of the Greatcoats, begins a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland.

My impressions:

Yes, I jumped right in the middle of a series – and I am proud of it. Who is to make me read all those series in order? ;p Anyway, a good book should be able to defend itself and stand alone without any problems, no matter whether it is the first, the second or the last part, right? And here I’ve experienced problems, unfortunately.

Aline, Aline, Aline…her name definitely should be in the title as, at the beginning, it is repeated at least two-three times on every page. Who is that precious Aline? A thirteen-year-old daughter of a murdered monarch, King Paelis, to be protected at all cost, or so her grandmother decrees. My problem was I am not exactly fond of young girls in their teens as book characters. Or prospective queens…

Ok, let’s return to the beginning. It’s a cloak-dagger-and-magic high fantasy novel featuring Falcio who is a Greatcoat meaning a kind of super-soldier. Falcio was sworn to protect Aline (whom else) and put her on the throne of Tristia but, meanwhile, he fell in love (no, not with Aline, what a pity). I disliked him instantly. Aline felt pangs of conscience because of that (Falcio will never be happy, awwww!) which, I suppose, should have made me like the kid but it didn’t. I was rooting for Trin instead – the evil, scheming eighteen-year-old b**ch who, allegedly, slept with her own uncle and was an insincere vixen and a skilled actress (translation: she was pretty, devious, clever and had an army bigger than Aline, imagine the cheek). Oh, and Trin’s late mother, Patriana, used to be a major political player. In previous part she managed to capture and torture Aline and, vicariously, Falcio. I wished she was still alive.

Dariana and Tailor, two female secondary characters, helped me to go through first 200 pages but somehow the whole conflict failed to interest me so I DNFed this one. I hate noble heroes. They reek of hypocrisy.

Final verdict:

I do hope the first part was better but, to be honest, I am  not especially anxious to find out. Lower strata of meh – just because black female characters were really good.

Rating icon. A hairless cat is wearing a santa hat and a sour expression. On the hat reads: meh.

Posted in adventure, book review, fantasy, historically-flavoured, meh, rating | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments