Speedtribes's Reviews > Ilario: The Lions' Eye

Ilario by Mary Gentle
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Nov 30, 07

bookshelves: fantasy
Read in November, 2007

I suppose it's unfortunate that I picked this book up immediately after I finished reading Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "A Companion to Wolves" which covers the same territory of gender roles, sexual identity and culture clash and despite its faults, was much better in every way.

Ilario: The Lion's Eye -- It is not as well written. I had difficulty immersing myself in the setting what appears to be an alternate universe Renaissance era Carthage/Spain/Rome (unhelped by the strange travelogue tone and pacing). I had difficulty in finding the setting either believable or even in any specific time frame. I found myself almost painfully irritated by the main protagonist, who I had difficulty sympathizing with and whom I thought kind of thoughtlessly stupid.

That's a lot of 'difficulties' to have to work through to finish a story.

I couldn't seem to stop reading the book, however-- perhaps because I was interested in what happened to the Egyptian eunuch, and the Soldier father figure. Mary Gentle's strengths didn't lie with the main character or plot, but rather in all the secondary characters that ran in and out of the background of the story.

Even so, I almost put the book down and swore off the sequel, if not for that terrible, deliberate cliffhanger of an ending. As much as I disliked the book, I may find myself heading to the library to get hold the sequel, just to find out what happened. I wouldn't recommend buying this, however.
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