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[personal profile] go_gentle
I'm reading The Bone Palace, by Amanda Downum, which is the second of her novels about the necromancer Isyllt Iskaldur and i wish to tell you about a (minorly spoilerly) thing that pleased me.

So, the novel flips between the stories of two women involved in politics in the city of Erisin - Isyllt, necromancer and former apprentice to the king's spymaster, and Savedra, mistress to the crown prince (which comes with a title and everything).

Isyllt spends her half of the first 50 pages investigating a murder, talking to ghosts, and meeting vampires in sewers, which is all very neat, but the thing that Downum did that really pleased me had to do with Savedra.

Here's a list of things that Savedra does in her share of the first 50 pages of the novel:

-declines to get involved in a particular political scheme of her mother's
-kills an assassin in the prince's garden (on a tip from her mother)
-discusses the assignation attempt with the (female) head of the prince's guard
-attends the sword practice of her close friend, the prince's wife
-sympathizes with said friend over her recent miscarriage
-discusses a problematic rise in graverobbing with the prince and his wife

Then, on page 50, Savedra decides to go visit her mother to get more information on the assignation attempt. Downum uses this moment to give us a couple paragraphs of information about Savedra's family and especially her mother. We learn that Savedra's mother is at the head of her clan, and particularly known for her wide web of information and influence. Savedra's clan is old enemies of the king's clan, which makes Savedra's relationship with the prince controversial. It might have been even more controversial - to the point where even Savedra's mother could not save her - if there was a chance that Savedra was going to muddle the succession, but that won't happen, because Savedra can't have children, because she's trans. And then there's a couple sentences about the status of trans* folk in this society, and then back to inter-clan intrigue.
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just a girl who's afraid of the dark

April 2015

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