Book Review: Troupe of Shadows
I am so glad I picked this book up! What a great read.
Comprehensive world review here:
For Text Loves:
The world is based on the American Old West and it definitely has a great "Weird West" feeling. While there is no notable magic, the fantastical elements are not lacking in the least. There are bird people, eight armed cardsharps, humans and qualids.
The qualids are the most important non-human race as our main character, Sellane, is a qualid. They are a people who can change the hue of their skin at will and are exceptional fighters.
Speaking of our main character, the characters in this book were great. I love that Sellane's story was one of real character growth, but without being a coming of age story. Sellane is not some kid fresh out of school, her physical skills are good. She's a terrible leader though and that leads to disaster for her and her followers. Her growth arc through the book is fantastic and by the end I was cheering for her to succeed.
My one quibble with the characters is that some of the POVs are at best secondary characters with no discernable growth. We didn't need Straing or Triss's POV. Especially Triss felt like a gratuitous POV, just there to tug the heartstrings.
For the most part, the writing is solid with good prose and crisp dialogue. I do dock a point on the writing for two reasons. First is that I picked up a few spelling issues (is became if, reign when the word should have been rein etc).
The second is the f-bomb. I don't like the f-bomb in fantasy, I prefer in world expressions. Now I will say that due to the western feel of the world, the exclamation didn't feel as out of the place as it usually does, but it was still used quite a lot, thirty six times specifically.
That being said, it was still an easy, enjoyable and immersive read.
Overall, a really strong four star book and a great debut! I am looking forward to more.