This is a review of “The Lascar’s Dagger” by Glenda Larke.
Saker looks like a simple priest but in truth he’s a spy for the head of his faith. It’s a dangerous job, and more lives than merely his own depend on his secrecy. When Saker is wounded by a lascar sailor’s blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, or the sense of responsibility that comes with it, Saker can only follow its lead. It will put him on a journey to strange shores, on a path that will reveal terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and likely lead to his own destruction. The lascar’s dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.
This story takes place in a vast world that is well thought out. Political and religious borders are well defined, and easy to understand. There is obviously a large history behind this world. The author has taken some pains in making a believable religion that spans the globe. It is understandable and even comparable to the religions of the real world that we live in.
Excellent secondary characters. Princess Mathilda had such vast potential and I really enjoyed reading her machinations of the people around her. Lord Juster was a wonderfully sassy sailor reminiscent of Jack Sparrow and that, coupled with the fact that he has smarts, made him a joy to read. Ahdri was always someone I wished to know more about, especially about the situation that led to him being on this journey of his in the first place. And Sorrel was a strong, loyal, powerful woman who rose far above her circumstances.
There are, however, some bad things about this book.
For all the hype about Saker’s spying, he hardly does any of it. He could have been any witan priest (or baker, or tanner, or whatever other occupation you want) in the world who was given the information before being sent out on a mission for all the spying that he does. Not only that but for being a spy he’s a complete and utter gullible, naïve idiot. Not only does he not know his own religion and the possibilities therein, but when he does have his sudden epiphanies he totally ignores them.
He is also warned about Matilda several times, and still he fell for her painfully obvious plots. The stupidity continues when he makes a decision that he shouldn’t even think about making in the first place. For page after page we get to read about this and it completely kills the story or any desire to know more about him even though he is the main character. And all these supposedly special Va-given witcheries suddenly started popping out all over the place.
There was also the horribly stereotypical Valerian Fox who was painfully obvious as the bad guy long before it was actually confirmed. Matilda also managed to lose my respect when her manipulations stopped being political, and instead she was turned into a whiny brat. Not to mention that the magical dagger that forces Saker on adventure, isn’t very forceful at all and simply seems to stalk him more than actually forcing him to do anything. Despite the title and the description on the back of the book, the dagger doesn’t actually need to be there at all. The story could have easily progressed without it. The agents of A’Va, though interesting, are far too late to actually save or even doom the book. The last 150 pages of almost-a-litte-bit-of-action came too late, my interest was long since lost and nothing could truly regain it again.
Generally speaking the story is good, the pacing, however, killed it stone dead.
Okay-ish book, but I will not read the sequel.