Tuesday, May 15, 2018
The Amberlough Dossier - Book One
The book I read was not the book I thought I was going to read. I'm not sure what I expected, but what I got ended up being interesting and thought-provoking, especially in this day and age.
Amberlough is a fictional province in a fictional country called Gedda. A double-agent sacrifices all his ideals in order to save his smuggler lover before a government coup takes over their decadent city in this glam spy thriller, or as I've also heard it called - a cabaret thriller. (Think 1930s Germany)
I had problems with what felt to me like slowness in the first 2/3rds of the book, if I'm being honest. It felt draggy and what's the point, even though the writing was quite good and I will admit, it built up the atmosphere quite well. It set up a lot of backstory and situational things about the governments and past spy doings that are needed to tell the tale. But I think I was just not in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. Because the writing is very special and engaging and perfect for the 'period' of the book.
I've seen the book spoken about in romance circles, but it's not really a romance. Yes, there is a romance at the heart of it, a love story for the ages type of thing, but it's not any kind of HEA that I know about.
The book ends on a cliffhanger and while that usually pisses me off, I was okay with it this time. It fit the book. And the book is clever, it's dark, it's scary (especially when held up against the current shit going on in the world), it's exciting. But there are moments of humour and moments of true sweetness and gentleness, but baby, they're few and far between. And maybe all the more precious for it.
Anyway, I'll be looking for the second book when it comes out. Wondering what's happened to the three main characters and if we'll be seeing any of them again. Two of them I think for sure we will, the third? I'm not certain at all.
Anyway, Amberlough ended up being a different and intriguing read. Check it out.
Thursday, May 3, 2018
The Fifth Ward - Book 1
I read a blurb about this book where it said that it reminded the reader of an episode of the TV show Hill Street Blues. And I think I must agree.
The story is told through the eyes of Rem, a young man of noble blood new to the city of Yenara. He's left home - I believe he's a younger son - and I can't quite remember if we're ever told exactly why. We are told that his father was quite demanding and, to Rem, belittling towards him. Rem gets thrown into the city dungeons and then, stroke of luck, gets offered the chance to join the Watch Wardens. Which he takes, because lets face it, it's better than rotting in the dungeons, right?
Rem is teamed up with a cantankerous dwarf by the name of Torvil to begin with, Torvil's regular partner having not shown up for his shift. And the adventure begins.
There's no new ground broken with this book. It's an adventure, a buddy tale, about two mis-matched guys in the city police force who have a mystery to solve. A mystery that includes murder, theft, drugs, kidnappings and elves, orcs, dwarves, mages and humans all existing together in this melting pot of a city. It's a fun read and while maybe predictable in spots, the characters are definitely charming and the writing is quick-paced and the narrative flows quite well.
I liked it and I'll definitely be looking for the next book when it comes out this summer.