Paperback, 311 pages
Published September 26th 2012 by Tyche Books LTD
Source: Net Galley
The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.
With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family’s treasure.
It’d be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.
But hey, every plan has a few hitches.
I did not quite know what to expect from The Palace Job, only that the synopsis had sucked me in and I was ready to take the plunge on the off chance that my nonexistent expectations would be met and I would walk away after being entertained. And I was. In fact, The Palace Job is my first five star book of 2014. The honor belongs to it and it’s a big honor if I do say so myself.
In case you were wondering, this is a review. Yes, a bit scattered but I will get down to business soon enough. How do I describe this novel? Ah yes, think Ocean’s Eleven but in a high fantasy setting with a black female as the protagonist and you will have The Palace Job. I will talk about diversity little later but for now, let’s talk about how much I love the plot of the novel. It is unpredictable and twisty and takes turns that I, for the life of me, could not foresee. It is well thought out and remarkably well paced. The author knows when to speed things up and when to slow down the pace. The word play is fantastic and I very much enjoyed the exchanged between the characters. The world building is also fantastic. I haven’t written an original synopsis for this novel because the synopsis that is already present does do it justice and does not try to falsely represent the book.
What made the book so awesome for me were the characters. There were many of them but they were all distinct and individuated precisely. Desidora, the death priestess and Kail, Loch’s guard and friend, Hessler, the illusionist, and the safebreaker, Tern, Icy, the imperial and Naria, Loch’s blind sister, Loch herself and Pyvic the Justicar, Ululenia, the unicorn and her virgin, Dairy. And yes, they are as colourful and as interesting as their names, if not more. The relationships between the crew are dynamic and change as frequently as their plans. There are plenty obstacles placed in their way but Loch is more often than not prepared for them and though each obstacle is surpassed, there are still dues that must be paid.
As I said, Loch is black, though the term they use here is Urujar (or Urujuar) and there is an honest discussion about colour and the effects of colour from a colonialist perspective. Not surprisingly I appreciated that Weekes took the time to have that discussion and did not just dismiss the colour issue. This was an ideal way to contextualize the novel in contemporary time with contemporary issues. There are a lot of things happening in the novel and there are many ways to read it but I think the most important thing is to realize that above all, this novel entertains. That is what it seeks to do and that is what it succeeds in doing. Everything else is just bonus.
If you like fantasy, especially Brandon Sanderson’s work, try out The Palace Job. You will love it.