Thursday, December 1, 2011
Twenty Palaces by Harry Connolly
The book is subtitled "A Prequel," and it is indeed a prequel to the three books in the kick-ass Twenty Palaces series. I've thoroughly enjoyed all the books, so I was thrilled to hear that the prequel was available.
I wasn't sure what to expect, though, since the author released the book himself. I was very happy to discover that it's fully as good as the books published by Del Rey. Although it is a prequel, like all of Connolly's other books it works well as a standalone story.
Ray Lilly has just been released from prison and is going to live with his aunt and uncle. He lucks into a part-time job right away, but isn't so happy to run into an old friend from middle school. Turns out that there's something strange going on with Ray's former best friend, the guy who lost the use of his legs in a handgun accident--and Ray was holding the gun. His friend's walking again, good as new. Some people are calling it a miracle, others insurance fraud. But as Ray discovers by accident, there's some really weird stuff in the world, and his friends have stumbled into something horrible.
I really liked seeing Ray before he met Annalise, and in fact was surprised and delighted when she appeared in the book and we get Ray's first impression of her. I also like knowing how Ray made his ghost knife and how exactly he ended up as Annalise's wooden man.
Like the other books in the series, this one's a helluva ride. The action starts fast and doesn't let up. The writing is clean and to the point, without the excess of description in the first book, Child of Fire (I mention this in case some people were reluctant to pick up a book set before Child of Fire for that reason). Ray's a firmly likable guy, raw from his time in prison and trying hard to make his way in the world without falling into his old bad habits.
Right now the book's only available as an ebook ordered directly from the author (link below). [Correction: it's also available through Amazon and will be up in a few other online venues soon.] It's definitely worth the couple of bucks, and is an excellent addition to the series.
ebook buy link (directly from the author)