Scott Kennedy's Reviews > Master of the House of Darts

Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de Bodard
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Feb 21, 12

bookshelves: review
Read from February 07 to 13, 2012

If you want to take a plunge into the bloody realm of the Aztecs as Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, tries to unravel the mystery behind a mysterious illness spreading in the capital, then this book is for you. It's filled with palace politics, ancient gods, costly magic, and growing tension as the plague grows in severity. One particularly nice aspect of reading this book is that it paints a balanced portrait of a highly civilized Aztec society that nonetheless engages in regular human sacrifice as a sacred religious rite. The Aztec medicine presented in the book struck me as remarkably advanced, what with notions of disease contagion and vectors, although my initial bias that the Aztecs wouldn't have conceived of such things seemed groundless after a little research revealed to me how superior their medicine was to Spain's in the following century.

Bodard involves the reader in three main characters: Acatl, our high priest PI, his sister, and an heir to the throne with his own agenda. Like many superior mysteries or fantasies (in this case both), Bodard uses a highly involving plot to reveal larger human and societal issues. It's a book that's not only involving while reading, but interesting to ponder after one is finished.
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