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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier

The Skewed Throne is a debut novel by Joshua Palmatier. The story takes place in the town of Amenkor, a city of legend. Its walls are home to traders, craftsmen, merchants, the guilds, and the Mistress. She is the ruler of its people and protects them. There has always been a Mistress. 1000 years ago a white fire - with no flame or heat, swept across its glory. In its wake Amenkor began to split, the prosperous and the wealthy stayed in the heart of Amenkor. The poor, the desperate, the homeless, the criminal - they lived in the outer reaches. The old part of Amenkor known as the dredge and home to the gutterscum. The criminals could not escape the justice of the Mistress; her assassin guards, known as the seekers, would hunt them down where they hid.

The story begins five years after the second time the white fire has passed. A young teenager is struggling to survive in the dredge, orphaned at six, nearly raped at 11 - she has a hard edge and a sense of despair. But, she is just another in a sea of gutterscum, until she is noticed by Erick, one of the seekers. He notices her uncanny abilities and gives her the opportunity to learn new skills and become something more than just another dredge orphan. He names her Varis, the hunter. Varis has two gifts. The first, the ability to shift her sight and enter what she calls "the river". While in the river she can see people in a different light... and then she can see people that are a danger to her, marked in red. When she delves deeper, she can actually see how something may happen. The second gift came with the white fire... a piece of it lingered behind, within her.

These gifts are Varis' tools to change the future of Amenkor. The current Mistress has gone insane and the city is in even more peril. Only Varis can make the choice to save it.

I enjoyed this book, it has a quick pace, the reading is smooth - I finished it in about three hours. There are some timeshifts in the story and a couple of times I found myself losing a bit of the timing. However, I became attached to Varis and enjoyed being with her through her development. Joshua captures the emotional twists and turns of a young teenager who is lost and seeking a place to be herself... while using a gift that gives her an upper hand in murder.

I've read some excellent debuts and some mediocre debuts. The Skewed Throne is definitely on the excellent end of the spectrum. I'm excited to have found Joshua early in his writing career... I suspect we will see a lot more of him in the future, something I look forward to.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Andrew said...

Neat, you reviewed that book, too. Have you seen his other one, The Cracked Throne, yet? I'm amazed he's published his first two books in less than a year. He also has a review contest at the moment, where you can win the third book in the series. Check it out:

http://www.sff.net/people/jpalmatier/index.html

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Lanetli Adam said...

wonderful working with wonderful picture...thanks...

3:44 PM  

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