Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier - Review @ SFFWorld

Joshua Palmatier’s debut novel, The Skewed Throne hit shelves in hardcover in 2006 amidst a number of other debut novels (Hal Duncan, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Naomi Novik, and David Louis Edelman). At least at the SFFWorld forums and from some of the folks on my blogroll, it seems Palmatier’s novel was a bit overlooked. Shame because the book is engaging, pretty tightly plotted, and evocative. I posted my review of it yesterday:

The story is told through the eyes and voice of Varis, a young street urchin living in the Dredge – the down and dingy slum of Palmatier’s secondary world. Think Lankhmar but not as clean or Crime Alley from Batman’s Gotham City with a subtle hint of magic. Palmatier’s use of the first person narrative is engaging and utilizes a spare sensibility; no overly descriptive passages just a blunt yet evocative relaying of information directly from Varis. This combined with Varis’s overall believability, honesty, and sympathetic aura make for an engaging read throughout.

At the age of eleven, after spending five years in the Dredge, Varis’s talents bring the attention of The Skewed Throne and one of its Guardsmen, Erick, who recruits her as an assistant assassin/knife for hire. As a guardsman, Erick is tasked with dispensing the Mistress’s justice; in other words, killing those who the Mistress of Amenkor deems unfit to continue living. Varis’s years on the street and her ability to see the “grey” (innocent) and “red” (guilty) aspects of people make her eminently suitable as Erick’s assistant. Varis realizes those she is told to kill aren’t “red” and she begins to question Erick and the Mistress. Her disillusionment leads her to Borund, a wealthy merchant who hires her as his personal bodyguard.
Mark posted the second part of SFFWorld’s 2008 Round up, which focuses on Science Fiction and media. Once again Aidan of A Dribble of Ink, Graeme of Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review, Ken of the Nethspace, and Pat from the Hotlist all participated. I’ll be posting my own year-ender later this week.

Neil Gaiman shows off some of Andy Kubert’s raw pencil work from their upcoming Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? To say (again) that I'm excited to read this is an understatement.

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