Book Review: The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic book 1), By Patrick Weekes
Nice magical adventure
What you should know
The fantasy primarily revolves around magic. A quite imaginative repertoire of charms and gifts are displayed not only to add entertainment, but also to stand in for modern earthbound technologies. So with magic, the society was advanced yet preindustrial at the same time.
In a realm where one part of the world is governed by an empire, and the other a republic, a dispossessed aristocratic ex-military vet of the republic serves as the heroine who seeks out vendettas against those whom she thinks have taken what she seeks to restore.
What I liked
From the beginning I found a steady plot development with pleasant surprises in every chapter. The level of intrigue was fairly high, with plenty of conflict between multidimensional characters. And there were multiple characters with multiple conflicts between them. Fiction writing is part gift, part skill, part craft, and part discipline. What I mean by that is I can pretty much divide fiction writers into two camps. Those that write great dialogue, and those that don’t. I appreciate quality dialogue in a novel. While tastes differ here, I found Weekes in the former group. I found chapters full of very smart dialogue. These conversations were intertwined around decent action set pieces, which were handled skillfully. As for the romantic readers, there was enough sexual tension to heighten the interest.
What I didn’t like
The passage of time and events is narrated by a plot device. The author used a puppet show as the form of official news media. During a time in a place most closely identified as medieval, where there is no written newsprint, crowds gather in the public square to hear the news told in the form of puppets on a stage. The players are composed of standins for the actual political rivals and are represented by a griffon, a manticore, and a dragon. While they are certainly inventive, I found myself straining to follow these vignettes. We never find out who the sources were for these pundits. Perhaps that could have helped.
Just a lot of fun reading.
It’s hard to imagine how the author could follow this effort up with something equally entertaining. Since this is book one, readers will have a chance to find out the answer to this proposition. My curiosity was perked concerning the political rift between the republic and the empire as little was explained about the structure of the republic and nothing at all about the makeup of the empire. Perhaps Book two answers a few of those questions. Let’s hope my curiosity will be satisfied by another good read
Recommendation: Good Read