Saturday, December 3, 2016
The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes
A week ago, I mentioned in my review of The Gender Game that the best way to know if a plan will go right is to keep it a mystery and not mention exactly what is about to go down. While that book didn't do this very well, this one makes up for it in spades. This layered, clever, fun, and thrilling story filled with magic and mystery, politics and prisoners, is just the kind of thing I've been looking for and a great way to start off a new month.
This story takes place in the Republic, where magic and creatures exist. Though, unfortunately, so does racism and political corruption. We meet Prisoner Loch, a woman of the Urujar race and a skilled thief. After a daring prison escape, Loch seeks the biggest job of her career, stealing an elvish manuscript that the elves would pay several fortunes to get. To do this, Loch assembles a team consisting of her right-hand man, a tinker, an acrobat, a unicorn, a wizard, a death priestess with a talking war hammer, and a young kid who may be more than he seems (or knows). Pursued by the honorable Justicar Pyvic and the not so honorable Warden Orris and Archvoyant Silisten, the rogues work together to score the biggest bounty of their lives.
This is just the kind of heist story that I love. Much of the plans are shrouded in mystery that you appreciate unravelling as you go. It's never clear exactly what Loch has in store and how much of what the characters undertake is planned or improvised. The villains also are brilliant schemers and so there's genuine interest in who is going to win this fight. It's brilliant strategy against brilliant strategy; two great minds at war and you never know what to expect. It's just wonderfully done and very well thought out.
Also, these characters are just a blast to be with. Each has his or her own unique personality and you just want to hang out with this group. Everyone pulls their weight in the story and nobody feels underused or useless, as can happen with too many characters. They also, for a group of people who pretty much just met, everyone works together wonderfully. There's great humor among them and clever banter and even some flirting, but it never overrides the main objective of the story; that being the heist. Even when those with clashing ideologies have to work together, they never hesitate in their mission and combine their skills well. While the humor can be slightly more risqué than one might find in most YA books (such as Kail's "your mother" jokes and a unicorn whose life goal seems to be deflowering young men) it never goes too far.
The world in which the story takes place is amazing as well. While its overall design is that of a medieval world, the use of magic crystals gives it an almost modern feel to it. Many times the use of magic crystals is there to replace the computers and security alarms that you'd find in current times, right down to being hackable. Yet it never loses that feel of fantasy with floating cities, news reports given by puppets, castles and creatures. There are so many elements of the world to enjoy. Gylspwer, the talking war hammer, speaks in an ancient language so you never really know what he's saying but he still manages to interact with the group almost R2-D2 style. Oh, and only the coolest...zombie...ever! Won't say more. Read it and find out.
This just reminds me how much I enjoy heist stories. It's fun, it's fast-paced, it's thrilling and has a wonderful cast of so many great characters. I'm happy to say that this book is going straight onto the Self of Recommendation. Check it out and see it for yourself!
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts.
Next Time: Never judge a book by it's movie...especially if Dakota Blue Richards is playing the lead.