Beth Cato's Reviews > Ink and Steel

Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: in, 2009, urban, fantasy, historical, no-longer-own

With the acclaimed (yet bawdy) poet and playwright Christofer Marley deceased, the members of the Prometheus Club turn to the heir apparent: Kit's roommate, friend, and rival, William Shakespeare. Will Isn't quite so sure about his new role in navigating the political intrigues of court, especially when magic is involved. Nor can he forget the loss of his friend Kit.[return][return]Kit, however, isn't quite as dead as the mortal world believes. Absconded by the Fae, he becomes a prisoner of Queen Mebd and her court. Even as he is bound by immortals, Kit can't let go of his old life and continues to worry about Queen Elizabeth, Will, and the foul persons who maimed and almost murdered him. And as the author of Faustus, Marley knows better than anyone what is at stake.[return][return]I am extremely torn about this book. Bear did a masterful job. It's beautifully researched. Unlike most books set in the Elizabethan period, she captured the very dialogue of the age, complete with wit and meter. Magic aside, it feels accurate and real. The characters are fully-rounded and complex. Will and Kit are very different men, driven by very different motivations, and both are geniuses in their own way.[return][return]However, the negative. Yes, I'm probably a prude, but geez there was a lot of sex in this book. Graphic sex - gay, straight, incest, and more. Sure, it was well-written, but it became excessive and aggravating, especially toward the ending. Some of it was part of character development, but not all, and some of it could be well implied without such detail. Even though I'm curious about the second book in this duology, I won't be picking it up because I fear it will include more of the same.[return][return]In summary: an artfully-rendered historical/urban fantasy, but not for prudes.

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