Sineala's Reviews > Point of Hopes

Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott
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's review
Jul 04, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: borrowed, e-books, fantasy, favorites, fiction, gay, paper-books, queer, mystery
Read in July, 2012

One of my favorite SF worlds, and basically just a really good book. It's an everyone-is-queer, nonobvious-matriarchy secondary-world police procedural mystery fantasy in a world that looks kind of sort of like Renaissance Holland if you squint. (Melissa Scott has a PhD in comparative history. Her worldbuilding is awesome. I first heard of her via Trouble and Her Friends, which I picked up because it was cyberpunk and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very, very queer.) And if that's not enough, there's the magic system: astrology is real, and it really, truly works.

The plot is something that could, in the hands of lesser writers, easily end up boring: in the city of Astreiant, the capital of Chenedolle, the queen, childless, is ailing, and it's time for her to choose an heir. Naturally there is some political infighting. It's also fair season, but what's most on the mind of city residents is that children have begun disappearing, and no one knows who is taking them or why. And luckily, you get to avoid reading about most of the machinations of the nobility, because Our Heroes are not nobility. Nicolas Rathe is a scrupulously honest pointsman (policeman) from one of the rougher districts of town, who stumbles into the problem and sets about trying to solve the mystery. Philip Eslingen is an out-of-work mercenary, new to Astreiant, and he more or less stumbles into... Rathe, and then the two of them try to help each other out.

(Yes, they do get together. No, it's not in this book. One of my favorite things, though, after Nico/Philip, is the series' use of the archaic word leman to mean a same-sex lover. My other favorite thing is the gargoyles. My other other favorite thing is the scurrilous broadsheets. No, wait, Istre b'Estorr. You know, I could keep going...)

The actual mystery resolution happens kind of weirdly, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it primarily as a mystery, but I am not a big mystery fan, so it didn't bother me.

And now, having reread this, I'm going to read the shiny new novella. Hooray!
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03/09 marked as: read

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