Every innovation—technological, sociological, or otherwise—begins as a crusade, organizes itself into a practical business, and then, over time, degrades into common exploitation. This is simply the life cycle of how human ingenuity manifests in the material world. What goes forgotten, though, is that those who partake in this system undergo a similar transformation: people begin as comrades and fellow citizens, then become labor resources and assets, and then, as their utility shifts or degrades, transmute into liabilities, and thus must be appropriately managed.
Well that was delightful. It’s been on my list for a while, so I figured I’d give it a chance and I’m so very glad I did.
I highly recommend the book, with the disclaimer that there are some dark scenes, bits (sorry) of body horror, and quite a lot of (made up fantasy) swearing.
I think my favorite part of the book was the world and magic. It’s one of those worlds where magic works by writing down ‘spells’ (called scrivings here) that convince objects to break the rules of reality. Things like convincing a recently fired arrow that it’s actually been falling for 10 minutes. Or a door that it really shouldn’t open unless someone with the proper blood touches the door.
It’s just such a great idea and implemented well here… especially as we go on and start to really push what the system can do. That’s really my favorite. I especially love the juxtaposition of fantastical (magic!) and mundane (advanced to the point of becoming almost everyday technology). It’s great.
Add to that a gritty city controlled by merchant houses that more or less completely control the laws within their domains–leaving the rest of the city up for grabs. :le kiss:
On top of that, I really do enjoy the characters. Sancia is a great main character. A ‘damn good’ thief with some neat tricks up her sleeve, trying to make her way in the world. The supporting cast, Dandalo (the cop obsessed with justic), Orso (the grumpy mentor figure), and Berenice (his assistant who’s even more brilliant than he is). And you have quite the story.
Plotwise, there are heists and politics and mysterious pasts. And of course more than a hint of some really dark stuff boiling under the surface.
It’s a great novel and I really want to see where we can go from here!