Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recommeded Reading - Pale Queen's Courtyard

Read Pale Queen's Courtyard

He gathered the beaded strings hanging from the archway, and pulled them slowly aside, careful not to let the strands jingle. There was no wind this night, and he did not want to test the guards’ talents. His heart began to pound, his breath shallow. Fear was delicious, in a way, like sex and sorcery.

Here is a book that does everything right.  At a superficial level it's an exciting story about a thief who gets in over his head, a soldier on the wrong path seeking redemption, and a beautiful woman in deadly peril.  There's adventure, mystery, suspense, and humour.

The book is also beautifully written.  It's almost poetry.  I found myself torn between wanting to go back to savour the beautiful, evocative phrases, and wanting to tear ahead to find out what happens next.

It is extraordinarily difficult to match beautiful writing with really effective storytelling.  Usually a reader must choose one or the other.  Beautiful sentences tend to go with gloomy, plodding plots about people who think endlessly about their feelings and never do anything.  If you want snappy storytelling with lots of action, you generally have to accept plain, workmanlike writing.  Sometimes I'm willing to put up with crude, amateurish prose if the story is sufficiently compelling.

There is no compromise required with Pale Queen's Courtyard.  The plot will appeal to your inner 10-year-old boy.  It's exciting, effective, and fun to read.  It kicks butt.  And yet each paragraph is a masterpiece.  Marcin Wrona, I salute you.

This might be the best book I recommend all year.  It's priced at a buck.  It's worth far more.  Buy it, and thank me later.

Read Pale Queen's Courtyard

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