1) Little slow to start but really built into a great story.
2) I loved how the author was able to establish character, setting, and history in a few deft strokes. The world of this story drew me in right away. A rousing and thoroughly enjoyable read.
3) This book was high fantasy at its best. An intriguing setting based on ancient Venice, lost princes and lost love, intrigue and power play both political and personal... The three main character's paths were wonderfully convoluted and intertwined, nothing was quite as it seemed in the beginning, and the plot twists kept me on the edge with tension all through the story. Loved it and will definitely reread. My only issue was the tedious beginning; actually not all too surprising with that much worldbuilding to take care of, but still a bit tough to get through.
4) Another story deserving of full marks - absolutely stunning representation of an alternate Venice where men are sent as exiles from a woman dominated world and left to sink or swim as it were. Living in a culture of murder and robbery some men rise to the top and find love and honor while others lead lives of chaos and mindless sex. A dark but never depressing story of power struggles and a desperate need for happiness in a world gone mad.
Malachite (Paladin Cycle #1) by Kirby Crow
Series: Paladin Cycle
Paperback: 408 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 23, 2016)
Amazon: Malachite (Paladin Cycle #1)
Amazon Kindle: Malachite (Paladin Cycle #1)
Marion Casterline is the highwarden of Malachite, an ancient, beautiful city floating in a shallow sea. In the aftermath of a brutal gang war, there is finally peace in the city, which gains new life every year through the sacred ritual of Aequora. Through Aequora, exiles, outlaws, and orphans can become citizens of Malachite. This ritual is vital to the city's survival, because Malachite is populated only by males. Jean Rivard grew up in the Zanzare slums at Marion's side. As boys, they were branded into the violent Teschio gangs that ruled the criminal underworld of Malachite. Known in the slums as the Prince, Jean became a spy, an assassin, and Marion's lover. As men, they worked together to destroy the Teschio and crown Kon Sessane as magestros of the city, only to drift apart after the battles were won: Jean to the Black Keep, Marion to the grand halls of the Consolari. When Marion announces his engagement to Kon's son, Jean is hurt and resentful. Marion is leaving him and their past behind in every possible way. Marion also believes that he's starting a new life, but when a charismatic rebel leader kindles a revolt in the slums, he realizes that the only man who can prevent war from devouring the city he loves is his very own prince.
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