Nicolas Rathe is a pointsman, a dedicated watchman in the great city of Astreiant. During the annual trade fair, with a city filled with travelers and merchants, someone is stealing children. The populace is getting angry and frightened and convinced that a foreigner must be to blame. Rathe calls on the aid of both an out-of-work soldier, the handsome Philip Eslingen, and the necromancer Istre b’Estorr.
The art of astrology is a very real power in the kingdom and plays as much a role in politics as greed and intrigue. Rathe finds himself struggling to find the children before a major astrological event brings about catastrophe. The first in a series of fantasy novels filled with adventure, intrigue and gay romance.
I didn’t think there could be a more romantically-frustrating book than Luck in the Shadows, but surprise! There is, and it’s called Point of Hopes. Okay, sure, it’s not REALLY a romance. It’s a fantasy-mystery set in an alternative medieval Italy, a sort of police procedural with fascinating world-building and wonderful characters! I just really wanted there to be more kissing.
My misunderstanding might have come from some Goodreads tags, which put it in m/m romance. I mean…it technically IS, but it took 200 pages for somebody to even THINK that somebody else was cute. That’s nearly half a book gone before there’s even any sly flirtation, and that definitely does not equal a romance. Bad Goodreads tags. Bad!
So that part was a disappointment. Almost everything else was fabulous, though! I very much enjoyed the mystery, which involves conspiracies and magic and kidnappings,
The best part about Point of Hopes is the absolute MASS of female characters running around. The Astrient world is one run by women, which means almost every important person in this book is a woman. Cops: women. Rulers and ministers and important government people: (mostly) women. Apprentices at tanneries: women! Lots and lots of women, except for the two protagonists, who are men. Would I have enjoyed this had it starred two women? Hell yeah! I probably would have become even giddier about it than I am already.
I didn’t mind having these two dudes around, though. Nicholas heavily reminded me of my favorite detective/cop character, Sam Vimes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Both have a solid sense of fairness and right/wrong, both want to do right by the people before the authorities/so-called laws, and both wander around in skirts carrying truncheons. Philip, too, is pretty fun. He’s an ex-soldier dandy who lets Nicholas drag him around to solve mysteries. I’m always down for dandies getting dragged into things by their boyfriends.
It’s an excellent mystery-fantasy-adventure story, even despite the lack of kissing. (Having since read the next two books in which there is, comparatively, a FLOOD of kissing, I can say it’s worth holding out for.)
Read: July 5-6, 2015
Y’all, I hate the cover SO MUCH. This is the original cover (from Tor). It’s still not fabulous, but is it better? Ehhh.