This is a review of “Lady in Gil” by Rebecca Bradley.
Tig is happy as a scribe. He doesn’t wish to follow the ludicrous Heroic Code or go on Quests to defeat Evil. It is unfortunate then that he grew up in a society that promoted just that, and that his perfectly heroic brother went and broke his leg so seriously that they had to amputate it leaving Tig to take up the slack and go on the Quest instead. With no-one believing that he can do it, death and torture and traitors, and a whole empire against him, Tig is less than amused. He’s terrified.
It is a good world that has been built up in the story. Though mostly focused on one single island one can still get a sense of the other kingdoms of the world though they are far away. Reading about the island one can practically taste the squalor in the streets of Gil and the yoke of the oppressors is felt. The people inhabiting this world are real and you get a real sense of them. There were even a few good twists and turns that came unexpectedly and I appreciate that. Tig is amusing, Calla is hard, Bekri is sweet and Shree is as mysterious as he was intended to be – for a while.
There are a few drawbacks for this book. Tig’s supposed weaknesses – i.e. his scholarly nature – starts out as a perceived weakness for the first thirty to fifty pages after which it turns into his biggest strength. He doesn’t have any obvious weaknesses at all. Calla, despite having grown up in oppressed squalor, switches sides remarkably fast despite professed confusion, and that undermines her character completely. The traitor has very stereotypical looks and draws suspicion like a magnet. Shree’s role was given away a bit too early and a bit too easily, but he managed to stay true to himself.
The book started out as a bit of a parody, rather heavy on the humour, but it didn’t continue that way. It started taking itself more and more seriously despite the lighthearted tone to the storytelling, and that just made the start and the reason why Tig was sent on the Quest a bit too weak to stand up in court. The ending was a bit rushed, too, and the one character I would have liked to have seen more of and learned more about was hardly there at all.
I haven’t read the two sequels – “Scion’s Lady” and “Lady Pain” – yet. Things could be further explained in those two books, but I am not certain if I will ever read them. The entire experience left me a bit blank about it all.
So, okay book.
Yeah. That is all that there is to be said, really.