Monday, January 9, 2012
The Emperor's Knife
There's a crazy, swervy border between subtle and vague writing, and it takes quite a bit of education and error before one lands on the desired side of it. In my opinion, Mazarkis Williams has pulled it off with the novel, The Emperor's Knife.
While I don't mean to imply Williams plays it safe throughout the book--many bold moves and slightly-uncomfortable moments are to be had--the story plays out as a clear starter installment without falling prey to thinness or complete translucence. Or in less fancy terms, even though you go in knowing this book is the beginning in a series, and everything has that clear "set up for what's next" feel, it's still incredibly satisfying. Like a really good appetizer, or a small cup of loaded potato soup, the world-building comes across rich, intriguing, and what losses are to be had strike at the heart, despite so little (comparatively) time to become connected to all the characters individually.
I hesitate to summarize the book as being a sort of The Girl of Fire and Thorns for boys, because A). GFT appeals to boys too, and is not girl-liked-exclusive, and I think the exact reverse of Knife: it might *trend* more toward a male reader, but it will still have great appeal for female readers.
All that being said, here's the skinny: Take a well-done bit of Prince of Persia (yes, the video game, and no, I don't mean the movie, which was pretty, but not much else), some of Tamora Pierce's awesome everything-development, wrap it in a nice, warm, Piers Anthony Adept Series, and add a Juliet Marillier pillow, and you're rocking out a pretty crafty "prophesied overthrowing of a corrupt monarchy" story, set in desert-ish lands, with sentient glyphs, evil spirits, and a sheltered kid brother heir.
I was lucky enough to get my eyeballs on an eARC through Netgalley, but I'd--*thinks*--yeah, I'd endorse a Buy on this one.