Bellweather Rhapsody, by Kate Racculia

Bellweather Rhapsody

by Kate Racculia

“A high school music festival goes awry when a young prodigy disappears from the most infamous room in the Bellweather Hotel, in a whip-smart novel sparkling with dark and giddy humor.

Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a colossal snowstorm is threatening to trap them all in the hotel. Then Alice’s roommate goes missing–from room 712. The search for her entwines an eccentric cast of characters: conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.

Bellweather Rhapsody is a genre-bending page-turner, full of knowing nods to pop culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee. But its pleasures are beautifully deepened by Kate Racculia’s skill with her characters, her melancholy, affecting writing about music, and her fearlessness about the loss and darkness that underline the truest humor. This is a wholly winning new novel from a writer to watch.” (via Indiebound, minor edits for readability)

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Good Things: One of the things I liked best about Bellweather Rhapsody was how it covers a lot of literary ground without ever feeling spread too thin. It’s a murder mystery, it’s a study of grief and pain, it’s a coming-of-age story. It travels through the ensemble cast and makes them all important and worth caring about; the Hatmaker twins and Minnie were my favorites, no doubt, but I never resented spending time with Fisher or Natalie or Hastings, which usually happens when I’m reading a novel with so many characters involved. There’s a lot of drama and theatrically big emotions, many tense sequences, and plenty of personal secrets to go around, and I was in just the right mood to fall into it all happily and ride the drama waves with everyone in the story.

Besides, for all the big feelings and big moments, there are little nuggets of truth about people that can pop up on you when you aren’t expecting them: Minnie’s coping mechanisms, and Alice’s true self under all her flashiness, and Rabbit’s surprising moments of confidence. Those pieces are going to stick with me past everything else, I think, and bring me back to read it and feel understood in the future.

Also, the bit about the middle section of “Jupiter” from The Planets is absolutely real and true and maybe the best thing I’ve ever read about it:

He knows that “Jupiter” is divided into three sections–the first and third are quick and cheerful, allegro giocoso, the essence of jollity (which Fisher finds hard to believe is actually a word). The middle is not silly. The middle is not syncopated. After some leftover tootling in the winds, the middle begins with strings moving together as one sonorous beast, slowly, majestically. The theme is restated, picking up winds and brass and percussion. It soars higher and higher until all the orchestra is reaching the same climactic phrase, released from gravity for only a moment, and gently falling back to earth.

It is a hymn, a prayer.

It’s the sound of several dozen souls singing the same song, and Fisher isn’t leading them. Fisher is one of them, his skinny arms swooping of their own accord. The middle doesn’t end so much as pause thoughtfully; more ridiculous merry bullshit is coming, but this feeling, this true joy, is always there. [loc 3360-3368]

Bad Things: I can’t call anything in this book bad–there were a few things that tugged at the edge of my attention, but nothing that ever dragged it away entirely. The theatricality of the characters’ inner lives works best with the younger players, I think; it makes sense that Alice and Rabbit would be full of big feelings, but equally big feelings coming from Natalie and Fisher, who are supposed to be the adults in this scenario, do feel a little inappropriate. Of course, that’s not to say that this wasn’t intentional. After all, they both experienced some messy things in their childhoods that affected their core beliefs about themselves, and emotional immaturity is hardly restricted to the young. Still, I felt a little bad when Viola Fabian, the clearest villain of the story, told Natalie to get over herself and I caught myself thinking, yeah, seriously.

Speaking of Viola: there are obviously sociopaths in real life, but Viola felt a little flat to me, especially among the wonderfully-realized other characters. A little mustache-twirly, if you will. At times her actions felt more like a plot device to bring the other characters together, rather than the believable decisions of a real (if screwed-up) character in her own right.

Overall: I know some folks use the word “romp” to backhandedly compliment media, but I am not one of those people. This book is rompy and a little silly and a little serious, and I loved it. I’m already looking forward to reading it again in a year or two.

Full Disclosure: The author is an internet friend of mine. Nevertheless, I paid for my copy of the book with my own money (albeit on sale), and I told her in advance that I’d be objective in my review.

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The Next Morning

Jessica:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 20. I had to stay up until hour 21 for our mini-challenge, but I was super fading. I got a second wind after picking our two winners and lasted until sometime during hour 22!
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nothing in particular is coming to mind. I’d love it, as always, if we could switch up the start time to literally anything else, for the sake of all the world’s people not in the Eastern half of the US. Maybe you could have a list of mini-challenge ideas that would help to make sure the mini-challenges are short, fun, and easy?
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Wow! So many people!
  5. How many books did you read? I finished 4 (all shorties), read 3/5 of a manga, and read 20-50 pages of four others.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, Rapunzel’s Revenge by the Three Hales, and Kimi wa Petto by Yayoi Ogawa.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Hmm, that’s tough! Newt’s Emerald was charming, Housekeeping was lovely, Nimona was good all through but had a truly excellent ending, Through the Woods was creepy in the best way, and Kimi wa Petto was a return to characters I love but hadn’t read about it in a while! I think I might go with Through the Woods, though. I love Emily Carroll so much!
  8. Which did you enjoy least? That’s also tough. I found the Unfolding of Language kind of annoying (more details later possibly), I didn’t connect much with The Mostrumologist (though I’ll read some more of it before giving it up for good), and Rapunzel’s Revenge didn’t have the magic I expect from Shannon Hale – not to be a demanding reader, it’s just that she is one of my favorite YA authors whose work I usually find magical. I found the tone and pacing of RR to be off, though I really appreciated the diversity of characters!
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I’m sure we’ll be back, barring trips or other big commitments like in April! We’ll read and probably host mad libs again, and I’ve been thinking about signing up to cheer for a short amount of time

Mia:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The end of however long I stayed up, definitely. At that point counting is too hard so I’m never sure how many hours are left. This time, I just read a giant anthology of horror comics and then went to sleep.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I didn’t read it for this ‘thon, but Alice+Freda Forever by Alexis Coe is very readable, interesting nonfiction. Also, Jessica and I were discussing doing an all-Princess  Diaries Read-a-thon sometime. Those books are so easy to whiz through and I love Mia Thermopolis forever.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Starting time change up! I know that’s probably not gonna happen, but I’m saying it anyway.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The prize page was really well-organized, I thought, and made it easy for me to check out what I might like when I won a door prize (!).
  5. How many books did you read? Five–finished four and read select stories from one.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? I finished: Scandals of Classic Hollywood, by Anne Helen Peterson; Prairie Ostrich, by Tamai Kobayashi; Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll; and The Sleep of Reason, ed. C. Spike Trotman. I also read a handful of stories from The Home Girls, by Olga Masters.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? I liked them all for different reasons! Scandals of Classic Hollywood is a great nonfiction book and I’ve already loved AHP’s column at The Hairpin for a long time, Prairie Ostrich is lovely and full of empathy and a little sad, Through the Woods and The Sleep of Reason are both full of creepy-good short horror comics, and the bits I read of The Home Girls made me want to read more Australian fiction.
  8. Which did you enjoy least? None, this time! I had a pretty good stack. I did read some temporary tattoo instructions that were a little dry, though.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? n/a 
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I’d love to keep doing our Mad Libs mini-challenge as long as they let us! And like Jessica said, I think joining in the cheerleading might be a good new thing to do.

It’s been real, guys! Can I go back to sleep now?

Hour 14 Mini-Challenge: Color Cover

Hey, readers and reader groupies! (Are there Read-a-thon groupies? Probably not.) Mia here. Are we really over halfway through already? Jessica and Brian and I missed the first few hours, but even so–woof! How are y’all doing? I won a door prize too! Excuse my victory dance.

I decided to take a quick break from reading to do Wishful Endings‘ color-cover mini-challenge; I was inspired by a very good and very HOT PINK book that I finished right before the Read-a-thon, Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe. (I highly recommend it!) However, since my own library isn’t at my disposal, I decided to make it an internet search instead of IRL. Here’s what I ended up with:

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Okay, so they’re not all the same shade of pink, but close enough for horseshoes. Truthfully, I’ve only read the first two, but I’ve heard good things about Hot Pink, and Polina looks like a lovely, expressive comic of the type that the French are so good at.

So! There you go. Four pink covers. Go read Alice + Freda Forever. End transmission.

Mid-Event Survey Time!

From Jessica:

1. What are you reading right now? I just finished Nimona, which was a lot of fun. Not sure what I’m going to pick up next.
2. How many books have you read so far? I’ve finished two (Nimona by Noelle Stevenson and Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix) and made progress in two more (25ish pages in Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson and the introduction to the Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher).
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I want to get to page 50 in Housekeeping, since it’s for a book club. I’m really looking forward to Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, which I will be stealing from Mia.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Not any external or unexpected interruptions. There have been little food breaks and checking the computer breaks, but nothing major.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Hmmm. Like I said before, we’re getting to be old hats at this ‘thon thing, so I’m struggling to come up with anything surprising.

From Mia:

1. What are you reading right now? I’m more than halfway through Prairie Ostrich by Tamai Kobayashi and I’m really enjoying it.
2. How many books have you read so far? I finished Anne Helen Peterson’s Scandals of Classic Hollywood, and Prairie Ostrich will be my second. It feels like I’m reading more slowly than usual, although I think part of that is just that I take longer with nonfiction books, even when they’re engagingly written. I’m whipping through Prairie Ostrich much faster.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? The comics and maybe some of the stories in Olga Masters’ The Home Girls, which was given to me by an Australian friend!
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I occasionally let myself get a little distracted by Twitter or Vine (or bothering Jessica’s cats), but mostly it’s been smooth sailing.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I’ve been doing more straight reading and fewer mini-challenges/less social media participation. I don’t think there’s any particular reason, just the whims of my brain. Probably when I’m punchy and sleepy later I’ll want to take more breaks and use the challenges as an excuse, haha.

From Brian:

1. What are you reading right now? Still working on some guys with guns Three Musketeers. 100 pages left!
2. How many books have you read so far?  Just the one – and I haven’t finished it, but that’s ok, it’s long, and soon, soon.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I’m gonna read at least a story or two from Invisible Cities post Musketeers, but then I really want to sit down with Tombs of Atuan – short, sweet, and Ursula le Guin!
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I’ve been doing ok, I think – I’ve definitely got distracted/less focused for at least a couple of hours – so fair I’ve been changing up venue when I start flagging, but now that it’s late that’s gonna get harder.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  I’ve been really conscious of hanging around various public spaces with a book – that’s not totally weird for me, but it’s entered my thoughts a lot as I’ve bounced around the coffee shop, the park, and most recently waiting for take-out at the amaaaaaazing Thai restaurant right by where I live. I think just reading allll day has made for a kinda interesting mindset! Also, some guy yelled at me to get a job when I was at the park! But then, I also kinda look like a hippy.

Read-a-Thon Intro Meme!

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Here is my (Jessica!) TBR for this Read-a-thon. A couple of comics for when I’m burning out, a couple of things I need to read for other people, and a few things that have been on my list for a while! And, of course, my Kindle at the very tippy top.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? My house in the Yay Area of California!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I’m pretty excited about all of them, but I’m starting with Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix (on my Kindle) and am super enjoying it so far.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Mia asked for these cookies she remembered from her childhood – creme sandwich cookies with a thumbprint of jam! I’ve never had them before, but they look scrumptious!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I am a math tutor, but no math for me today! :D
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? This is our sixth or seventh ‘thon and I feel like we’ve got it pretty down, to be honest! I did buy plenty of easy snacks and meals to prepare, more than usual!

Okay, Mia here and ready to rumble! Gaze upon my book stack, ye mortals, and despair:

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That doesn’t count the legion of ebooks I also have at my disposal, of course. Oh, Kindle, you’re always there for me.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Jessica’s awesome home in the East Bay, which is full of hilarious cats and comfortable blankets.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Prairie Ostrich by Tamai Kobayashi comes to me highly recommended by a Canadian friend whose taste I deeply admire. Also, Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods and anthology The Sleep of Reason, because it’s almost Halloween and horror comics are gonna be a great way to keep myself awake into the wee hours of the morning.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I too am looking forward to the sandwich cookies–I haven’t had them in an age–but we’re also going to experiment with queso and chips, which sounds like the exact kind of junk food I could go for today.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I spent yesterday working registration at the biggest alumni event of the year at my local university and place of employment. I was a little nervous, but alums who are in town for fun and nostalgia are wonderfully patient and accommodating.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I told Jessica that she should say she was going to read while standing on her head today, but she demurred, so I’ll have to take up the torch on that one.

Update (A new challenge appears)
Hiya! This is Brian here tagging along w/ my sister and Mia for my first ever readathon!

Sadly I didn’t really prepare a variety of books for the readathon since I wasn’t expecting to do it, but luckly I just went to the library!
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? It’s a cool and bright Autumn day in Denver! My roommate is off camping so it’s just me and two big old hounds (who aren’t big readers).
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I’m hoping to get into a bit of Invisible Cities since the Sister has been harassing me about it for… 5 years (more like 8! – Jessica)? Someday I’ll read it I swear! I’m looking forward to trying out Griffith’s Ammonite though, as it’s been highly recommended to me and is a differenty sort of SF.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I did not plan well for my long term survival today =(. That said, I have a goodly amount of chocolate, as well as chips, cheese, and homemade salsa!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I’m a grad student in Denver, where I study cities and sustainability! If you look close, you can, ah, see that I’ve got a work book in that reading pile for the day ~cough~ >.>
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? This is my first readathon! I don’t know how well I’ll do, really – I’m a pretty good focused reader so my hope is that that’ll work in my favor!

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, by Jennifer Laam (Plus Giveaway)

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar

by Jennifer Laam

“A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences.

In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra.  After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov’s treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer’s interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica’s passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion.” (via Goodreads)

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The Secret Daughter of the Tsar isn’t my typical reading fare–it’s not fantasy, sci-fi, or YA, which I’ll admit have made up most of my library lately. But then, I’m also hard-pressed to figure out exactly which category it falls into. Parts are historical, parts are contemporary; there’s some mystery and some thriller in there too, and also some romance. Plus, it’s technically an alternate-history novel, so you could also call it speculative fiction. I can’t help but be interested in books that fall between the borders of genre, so this one tickled my brain a while after I finished it.

There are three main timelines following three characters: Veronica, Charlotte, and Lena. Their stories are clearly delineated, although it’s not until the end that their threads become obviously interwoven. I found Veronica’s and Lena’s stories most compelling. Veronica is a wonderful contemporary protagonist; she’s smart but full of self-doubt, but she also doesn’t hesitate to communicate her wants in a relationship or ask for space if she needs it. Despite her doubts, she’s got strength, and it’s wonderful to read about an interesting, nuanced Chicana heroine! There are also some funny moments that–hand to heart–made me cackle aloud:

Except she had no clue how to signal what she wanted. A hand on his knee? A sly wink? She wanted to feel sexy and wild. If only she had something sexy and wild to say. “Where’s your bathroom?” she asked.

Lena’s story is also engaging. She’s a genuine, brave woman, and I enjoyed her relationships with the empress and her mother-in-law, as well as her chemistry with Paul, the Black American guard at the palace. There’s so much warmth and well-meaning in her friendship with Alexandra that I didn’t want anything bad to happen to either of them (poor hopes for a Romanov storyline, I kn0w).

I found the beginning of the book slightly uneven, but in the thick of things, the pacing is good, and the plot skips along. The stories switch back and forth at tense moments that made me want to keep reading long past the end of my lunch break (and the beginning of my bedtime–I ended up having to set it aside because it was too exciting for pre-sleep reading! Got my adrenaline all pumping and stuff.)

While I enjoyed Charlotte’s storyline too, anything involving Nazis makes me kind of anxious, so I was basically reading with my eyes half-covered. I didn’t quite get as strong a sense of the danger that Veronica experiences later in her storyline; the drama was there, but the threat didn’t feel as immediate or as possible as it did for Charlotte. Veronica’s villains are a little exaggerated, although I got notes of nuance that kept them from being complete Snidely Whiplashes. I also didn’t feel Veronica’s chemistry with Michael as strongly as I did Lena’s chemistry with Paul, but I appreciated Michael for the role he played, and I did feel things come together a little more at the end. (Which is not to say that their smooching scenes weren’t well-written. Get it, Veronica!)

I’ve seen that some other reviewers had a different experience than I did, but I absolutely did not see the ending coming until it was practically on top of me. I’ll keep this review spoiler-free, but suffice to say that I was surprised–not in a bad way, but just in an oh, DUH sort of way that actually made me happy that I didn’t figure things out earlier.

Overall: It’s a tightly-written, interesting story with great female characters and relationships, and I’d absolutely read a sequel. There’s so much more to hear about Veronica!

Full Disclosure: The author is a friend and former coworker of mine. Nevertheless, I paid for my copy of the book with my own money, and I told her in advance that I’d be objective in my review.

Now, here’s the GIVEAWAY part: leave a comment (with a valid email address attached–US entrants only, please!) by 11:59 pm on Monday, November 25th, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on November 26th. Good luck!

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

“The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a ghost that walks through walls. Half the city believes him to be a legendary champion of the poor. The other half believe him to be a foolish myth. Nobody has it quite right.
Slightly built, unlucky in love, and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. He certainly didn’t invite the rumors that swirl around his exploits, which are actually confidence games of the most intricate sort. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else, pray tell, would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny of it. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves, the Gentlemen Bastards.

Locke and company are con artists in an age where con artistry, as we understand it, is a new and unknown style of crime. The less attention anyone pays to them, the better! But a deadly mystery has begun to haunt the ancient city of Camorr, and a clandestine war is threatening to tear the city’s underworld, the only home the Gentlemen Bastards have ever known, to bloody shreds. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends will find both their loyalty and their ingenuity tested to the breaking point as they struggle to stay alive…” (via Goodreads)

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Good Things: Who doesn’t love a con story? Generally speaking, audiences love the dramatic irony of being in on the con, seeing how the marks get taken in, getting the behind-the-scenes action. And, of course, there’s often an added twist or extra tension that comes from a part of the con being withheld from the audience as well as the marks, and The Lies of Locke Lamora is no exception. Honestly, though, it’s not just the con story that makes this book amazing, although it’s definitely a part. I’ve read a lot of fantasy novels in my day, and the world-building in this book is honestly up there in the top ten–Camorr is Venice-flavored but has history all its own, and information about the city and the world around it is doled out with such a careful hand that there’s nary an egregious infodump to be found. Likewise, the plotting and pacing of the story is so engaging that I couldn’t read it before bedtime because a) it was too compelling and I’d be up until 2am, and b) the events were too exciting and my adrenaline would get all fired up. (I’m a delicate flower, I know.)

The characters, too, are wonderfully built and well-rounded, and as the story flashes back and forth between present-day and Locke’s youth, their motivations and personalities are revealed in an excellent show-don’t-tell kind of way. I really enjoyed the main characters’ relationships with each other–Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo, Bug–and their fondness for each other was obvious.

Bad Things: My main complaint with The Lies of Locke Lamora is the female characters. First off, there should be more of them! I know they’re the Gentlemen Bastards, but come on. There are a few main-ish characters who are also women, but their stories aren’t as rich or complex as those of the male main characters, and we spend way less time with them. I’ve been told that this is rectified in the series’ second book, Red Seas Under Red Skiesbut here it’s a bit of a disappointment. To put a finer point on it, one character gets refrigeratored in what was the biggest letdown for me–I kept hoping that it was a trick or that something more interesting would come about, but nope, it’s a pretty straightforward refrigeration.

While I said above that the pacing and plotting are well-done, there is a point near the climax of the book that does get a bit “let-me-explain-to-you-how-this-all-went-down,” and it’s possible that it really only stood out to me because the rest of the story had so little infodumping going on. The resolution was a little rushed but still quite satisfying.

For trigger notes, it’s worth mentioning that this is a fairly violent novel. There’s a lot of death, torture, and pain inflicted, although most of it didn’t feel overdone to me, but that’s a very personal thing that you’d have to measure for yourself.

Overall: Basically, this book is compelling as shit and I was never once bored with what it chose to let me in on. To use an old cliche, it’s an edge-of-your-seater, and I’m glad that Saladin Ahmed recommended it on Twitter. I’ll most definitely be reading the rest of the series, with my fingers crossed that the women get better, and if Scott Lynch is as devious with his plotting with the sequels as he was with The Lies of Locke Lamora, they’ll be a hell of a read.