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Review: Pale Queen's Courtyard July 3, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Fantasy.
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Title: Pale Queen’s Courtyard (Moonlit Cities)

Author: Marcin Wrona

Publisher: Marcin Wrona

Publish Date: April 23, 2011

ASIN: B004XTTVCC

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

Leonine, a thief and a sorcerer, is on the run from the Hunt in the city of Ekka where sorcery is outlawed. Kamvar is a soldier in the Hunt and is now questioning his commitment and his oath to the Hunt. When their paths cross with a 9-year-old girl, a powerful sorceress in her own right, both men will learn who they truly are.

Review:

Pale Queen’s Courtyard is a book I picked up because I liked The Whitechapel Gambit so much.  I found I wasn’t disappointed in this book. This tale is an epic fantasy with sweeping descriptions of the rich landscape of Ekka. Ekka was inspired by conquered Mesopotamia.  You could almost taste the dates.

The characters in this story sprang to life with every word. From the slaves to the guards, you could practically smell the incense.

Leonine was particularly vivid. Despite his ruthless nature, he was entirely sympathetic for some reason that I couldn’t fathom at the time. I suppose he was a product of his environment. His sorcery was outlawed. His family had been ripped away from him because of it. He had to make his living through thievery and he was constantly on the run. When young Ilasin enters into the story you’re given even more reason to like him as he becomes endearingly attached to her.

Kamvar was a simpler character. He made an oath to his god to follow the dictates of his religion and hunt down Daiva, sorcerers, with his fellow Huntsmen. Unfortunately that oath gets questioned when he’s asked to hunt down a 9-year-old girl for the sake of politics.

Much of the plot takes place on diverse paths between Kamvar and Leonine’s adventures. There’s no sense of discontinuity though and it all flows very smoothly. The switching perspectives gives you alternate views of what it’s like to be the conqueror and the conquered. It also gives you differing perspectives of what it looks like from opposing sides of  history.

The action is pretty evenly paced. There aren’t many places in the story to get bored. There are one or two occasions when it does slow down but it’s not for lack of reason. Truthfully, those brief periods gave me a chance to catch my breath. I still thought the pace faltered here and there.

Between the world building and the character development, this book is definitely worth picking up. There are two more books in the Moonlit Cities series, but they’re stand alone books.

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