If you are like: I wish I could find the Musketeers as retold by Scott Lynch then I have this series for you.
Confession: it’s hard to make me laugh in books. You won’t usually find my laughing at the spirited antics of some contemporary romance where the heroine has toilet paper stuck to her shoe. I’m not into that. I am, however, a sucker for cerebral sarcasm and a winning, irreverent voice.
‘Goodnight Lord Tremondi,’ I said. ‘You weren’t an especially good employer. You lied a lot and you never paid us when you promised. But, I guess that’s all right, since we turned out to be pretty useless bodyguards”
I WAS LAUGHING ON THE FIRST PAGE ! Falcio and his Greatcoat friends are outcasts, outliers and completely obsolete but they need to save the day anyways.
“My name is Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Great Coats and this was only the first of a great many bad days to come!” de Castell tugs you into his web and entangles you there.
Lest you think it is all fun and swashbuckling hijinks, it is not. Indeed, there is a pensive and sad undertone with a perfectly realized world developed with injustice, pain and sorrow.
“It is an odd sort of bluish colour, and you would call it bright at first, but then as you looked on it further, you’d find yourself adding words like oily and runny-looking and finally sort of disturbing.”
de Castell has a way with words that is equally surprising and winsome, cunning and smart. His prose literally snaps up from the page and sparks you in the eye like the moment you toss an extra log on a campfire and flits of ember flick a little extra smoke.
There’s a great deal of screaming in this story. Best get used to it now.
I think I was attacked once or twice, but I couldn’t afford the delay so I killed them and moved on.
I received Knight's Shadow for review from the publisher
And, if you are like: I kinda want Sally Lockhart but I would prefer a more interesting guy sidekick (maybe a gay Italian with a half-scarred face) and more cross-dressing and opium addiction then you will love Kitty Peck. I read The Music Hall Murders and the Child of Ill-Fortune back to back last week. I had trouble putting them down. [note: these books are super inexpensive on kindle]
You guys all know I love Victoriana and surprising poems and the dark, creaky shadow-drenched streets of London illuminated with surprising prose. Kate Griffin pulled me in immediately.
“She was dressed in a black embroidered gown that gaped wide at the neck revealing a throat that was strung like a broken violin.”
Really vivid imagery, a perfect Cockney-vernacular which sets brilliantly well in the first person narrative. Kitty is at times infuriating and vulnerable, strong and sly. A different kind of lady detective in stories that defy genre.
“Lady Ginger’s words were like something noxious coughed up by a pampered cat. One minute it’s purring and curled up neat on your lap, next it’s hawking out a half-digested rat head.”
“he coated my name with a greasy slick of insolence”
And as much as I love Kitty, I love Lucca! Smart, cultured Lucca who maintains pride and vanity despite the treacherous accident that marred half of his beautiful face. I love how a few Italian words and phrases erupt now and then.
“I’d seen the truth of that picture, but Lucca, now , it was like he could feel it all—every lash, every cut, every chain.”
It’s a very vivid and visceral and gritty world with dark motivations and the basest of human depravity.