book reviews by Althea

Review: Amberlough

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Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read for book club.

An extremely impressive debut novel! Imagine if Ellen Kushner’s ‘Riverside’ novels were set in an analogue of 1920’s Germany?

I do think that all fans of Kushner’s ‘Swordspoint’ &c. will love this book. It also does a great job of introducing its world and characters without unnecessarily driving home the parallels between the fantasy setting and that of the Weimar Republic and the impending rise of fascism. It’s not a 1:1 correspondence; there are also elements of the Balkans, and wholly original elements of the world. All of it emerges organically from the story’s progression.

The story involves spies and double agents at a popular decadent nightclub; and the complexities and betrayals spawned by the intersection of inclination and obligation. I didn’t find any of the characters to be sympathetic – but they were all interesting.

I will, without a doubt, be reading the sequel – which I hear has already been submitted to the publisher! 😉

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