Ryan Groesbeck's Reviews > To Lie with Lions

To Lie with Lions by Dorothy Dunnett
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Aug 04, 12

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This book was a vast improvement on its predecessor, and I'm not just saying that because it featured my hero Louis XI more prominently :). Unicorn Hunt was kind of a meandering travelogue that didn't really seem to accomplish much in terms of advancing the plot or the characterization...though I felt similarly after reading Disorderly Knights for the first time before I had finished the series, so maybe my opinion of that will change once I've finished Gemini.

In any event, the main annoyance of this book, to me, is that Nicholas is constantly referring in the text to his Grand Plan, without revealing to the reader what that is. Now, I have no objection to grand plans -- Game of Kings had one, and its "Aha!" moment at the end was a wonderful payoff. But it was under the surface -- here, Nicholas seems to be beating you over the head every few chapters with "Remember that I have a glorious complicated plan! And I'm STILL not going to tell you what it is!" ...It was frustrating.

The scenes in Iceland were stellar, with the amazing descriptive power that Dunnett has earned my and many other people's praise for. Nicholas and Gelis advance their relationship, we understand more of their characters, and the minor ones are nicely fleshed out.

In fact, I was all set to give this 5 stars...and then the last climax of the book hit, and I had to downrank.

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