Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Born into poverty and orphaned young, Daveth Blyd had one chance for success when his fighting prowess earned him a place in the Tangye city guard—a place he lost to false accusations of theft. Now he scrapes out a living searching for wayward spouses and missing children. When a nobleman offers him a small fortune to find an entertainer who’s stolen a ring, Daveth takes the case.
While Jory Pearce may or may not be a thief, he certainly can’t be trusted. But, enchanted by Jory’s beauty and haunting voice, Daveth soon finds himself caught in the middle of a conspiracy. As he searches desperately for answers, he realizes that he’s also falling for Jory. The two men face river wraiths, assassins, a necromancer, and a talking head that could be Daveth’s salvation on their quest for the truth. But with everyone’s integrity in question and Death eager to dance, Daveth will need more than sorcery to survive.
Review: In the dark and gritty world of Tangye there are very different social standings. Family and wealth determine your place in this world. Daveth is the son of a whore from the poorest part of Tangye. He has been surviving day by day his entire life. When he reached for a step up in his station in life someone unfairly stripped it away from him. Teaching Daveth his lesson to never expect much out of life. Now he takes low paying random sometimes dangerous jobs to keep his dilapidated roof over his head. It’s more than he’s ever had and enough for someone like him. His newest job is from a noble man. Find a singer who sometimes works as a prostitute and deliver him to the nobleman. The pay is too much to resist. Daveth quickly finds out the case isn’t as cut and dry as he hoped. Someone is lying and the stakes are much higher than he realized.
The world building in this story was great. You really get how desperate and horrible living in the slums are for these people. They are always struggling to survive. Watching their backs. At the mercy of anybody with authority or wealth. The filth and desperation the people live in. The lack of desire for more than basic pleasures like food and shelter or the luxury of a pair of good boots. I was very impressed with how vividly this book painted the picture without being overly descriptive . The society lines are firmly drawn and our MCs are on the wrong side of it.
I really liked Daveth. He could be the worst kind of man given the lot fate has dealt him but he is a good person. Daveth doesn’t think highly of himself however. When he meets Jory it would be so easy to hand him over and take the huge pay day but he can’t do it without answers. Jory sees the good in Daveth but trust isn’t easily given in this world and Jory has his own sad story.
I love fantasy based stories. This is set back in the days of Royalty. The romance element does kind of take on a heavier weight towards the middle of the story. I liked the playfulness created between the characters. I would consider this one of those quicky love stories solely based on the amount of time the characters know each other. To be fair they do spend most of the book trying to escape assassination attempts or dodging ghosts or death herself. Those things tend to push a person into acting on impulses like lust and love when it’s presented. Those who love a noir type story or appreciate good world building should give this one a try. The ending does feel kind of thrown together and leaves the future of our MCs open. Maybe they’ll have more adventures together??