It’s rare that I read a fantasy novel and when I do, I strive only to read the best. I prefer novels cut from fresh cloth. I don’t like to see elves and dwarves or wizards casting fireballs. N. K. Jemison’s Kingdom of Gods is the final volume of her Inheritance trilogy and here we have a rich world of varied cultures ruled by a single dynasty, the Arameri, servants of Intempas, a god of order and light. Their long rule and ruthless peace has been known as the Bright and it is coming to an end.
A few months ago I got a manuscript copy of Low Town, a debut novel by Daniel Polansky. The rep who gave it to me isn’t a big genre fan, but she couldn’t help but rave about this book. I dug into the the first chapter as soon as I got it. I was hooked. Polansky has written a gritty crime novel full of the classic tropes, from the tough fallen-hero protaganist to a cast of rogues, unsavory cops, and violent dilettantes.