It’s hard for me to get into fantasy stories. I have the attention span of a 2 year old golden retriever and most fantasy really takes time to get going. This is no different. If you are also that kind of reader, I encourage you to fight through the first couple of set up chapters for this one.
Plot: In a world where gods are real, one dude dedicated to serving one (with a big sword) also learns they can die, and like, what do you do with yourself after that? Well, become a mopey town guard a la Guards! Guards! (by the incomparable Terry Pratchett) for another god. And when a cute, highly neurotic and easily distractable perfumer in hiding needs help, you help. And then go back to moping until people whack you over the head enough times.
This book is part murder mystery, part court intrigue, part rom com, part thriller? It is hilarious, it is smart, it is sweet as hell, it doesn’t patronize the audience, and it really did give me serious Terry Pratchett vibes, which is as good as a compliment gets in my books.
The characters are not yet more beautiful teens, but people who have lived and have baggage galore to deal with as they navigate the next step of their lives, something they do believably badly and have to learn to process their trauma on the fly. Our heroine doesn’t becomes queen of whatever, our hero’s god doesn’t conveniently come back from the dead, and most everyone is quite good, or at least very convincing, in their jobs. Characters are fully realized, even if they have barely any time on the page. Plots flow seamlessly and the resolution is intensely satisfying.
This book will cost you sleep, but you’ll only regret rushing to the end.