Annie Bellet is an author I had become aware of from twitter, and because of the large number of other author’s I like interacting with her, and the funny interactions she posted, I decided I would give her works a try. Her love of rpgs, video games and other things I like didn’t hurt. I picked up Avarice and the Gryphonpike Chronicles on Kindle and decided to start with Avarice, because who doesn’t like a story set in a city with the promise of things getting down and dirty.
Right away I could tell that I was going to get the other side of the coin, focusing on the law enforcement side of life in a sword and sorcery city, and I was excited as I’ve enjoyed Simon Green’s Hawk and Fisher series, as well as several others. The protagonist Cordonate Zhivana establishes her character quickly, and I have no doubts to her competence or why she was recently promoted to her position. Her partner we also swiftly learn about, realizing he has some dark secrets he is dealing with. The interplay between the two is believable, and while I would like to know about Cordonate Parshan, I wouldn’t be surprised is this was a large part of the sequel.
The city could have easily slipped into a clone of the standard fantasy slum filled city, but Annie puts enough touches on it to make it her own, such as the use of the Kirgani and Anuran instead of Tolkienesque races, and laying down a background that makes me think more of a medieval fantasy version of Babylon of Sumer than medieval Europe. The Kirgani in particular are well done, seeming a real race instead of just humans with pointy ears, claws and fur. Zhivana’s concern’s with the mortality of her mate show the difference between Kirgani and humans.
The plot takes several twists and turns, allowing both Cordonates to show their skills and strength of character along the course, and has a good amount of action, without allowing the action to overwhelm the story or the investigation focus.
Definitely looking forward to reading the sequel when it comes out, and also interested in seeing how Avarice compares/contrasts with the Gryphonpike Chronicles when I read them.