This book was marketed as a “high fantasy,” eh…not sure how much I agree there. It was more of a campy adventure/fantasy hybrid. That being said, the campiness is the part that I liked most about the book.
While the 2 main characters were more rounded, the supporting cast (the rest of the characters in this case) were all fairly stereotypical. But honestly, it seemed like they were purposely so in order to add to the overall humor and campy feel of the novel. The cast was still a unique set of crazies that you normally would never put together to achieve scrambled eggs let alone to uncover the plot against the emperor.
Amaranthe Lockdon is a fast talker with principles. She can convince anyone to her way of thinking and often does. And worse yet, she actually sticks to her every principle herself and believes in her good intentions.
“You’re good at talking people into things.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because I’m perched in the rafters of a cannery, at risk from a man-slaying magical creature, and spending time with a drunk, a gangster, and an assassin”
But even her fast talking cannot get her out of her current predicament: she is now a hunted criminal for discovering something that the man behind the emperor does not want her to know. Now she finds herself with an unlikely ally in a wanted assassin with a penchant for killing her people.
Sircarius is an assassin with no beliefs in except one: people will betray you. He is dark and secretive and is helping Amaranthe for his own reasons. He is also the best in the kingdoms at killing people. No matter the price the empire puts on his head, he walks out of every attempt to capture/kill him with blood on his hands and no survivors. But the longer he is with Amaranthe, the more her influence over him grows.
The two’s rocky relationship is only enhanced by the crew of misfit stereotypes that they gathered to save the emperor and unmask the plot of unwholesome design against the kingdom. This is a book is fun, plain and simple. It is not serious or unique. In fact, the downgrade in the rating is due to the predictability of the plot and the occasional deus ex machina where one of Amaranthe’s plans escapes the bounds of logical progression (but honestly even that worked with the plotline.) The banter between the characters and ease of the writing style made this a quick and enjoyable read.
“It’s not my fault,” Maldynado said.
Amaranthe joined them. “I didn’t say it was.”
“No, but women like to blame things on me, so I figured I’d announce my innocence preemptively.”
“What type of things?” Books asked. “Their unwanted pregnancies?”
“Of course not. To bear my offspring would be an honor. They know that.”
For anyone looking for a quick, light adventure story that will not surprise and is continuously humorous, this is definitely a win.