Corey's Reviews > A Rope of Thorns

A Rope of Thorns by Gemma Files
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's review
Apr 25, 2011

it was amazing
Read from June 14 to 19, 2011

After the vicious Book of Tongues, Rope is a true middle chapter, as our heroes (?) wander on their quest, vanquishing foes while incrementally getting closer to their goal. What that goal is, is in some doubt, as Chess—as violent and psychotic a protagonist as there has ever been— actually grows as a character, learning the limits of his power and actually evolving into something far more interesting. He starts Rope looking purely for revenge, but as Chess becomes more self-aware, he begins to see his place in the world, and understands the concepts of consequences and fate. If Chess had simply remained a remorseless stone-cold killer, Rope would still have been entertaining, but this stab at personal growth, Chess' actual attainment of empathy, is what allows the narrative to grow accordingly. There is still all the frank intergender sex of the first, but Files has leavened the outrageousness of the first through a deepening of the bonds between the leads. Chess and Ed may not become the next Frodo and Sam, but their quest is just as dangerous, and unlike those lovable hobbits, there is no doubt on the subject of homoeroticism.

Where is Files going with all this? I cannot tell, except that the finale will no doubt be apocalyptic in scope, a battle which will make Harry Potter's last stand at Hogwarts seem a slap fight between fifth graders.

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