Aztec, fantasy, and murder-mystery all in one in Aliette De Bodard's second 'Obsidian and Blood' novel.
Rating: 3 smileys
The Year is Two House
The Mexica Empire teeters on the brink of destruction: the ailing Mexica Emperor, the living link between the world of mortals and the protector god Huitzilpochitli has just died.
The Empire lies vulnerable to the flesh-eating star-demons -- and to the return of their creator Coyolzauhqui, a malevolent goddess only held in check by Huitzilpochtli's power.
I don't normally review books in the middle of a series unless I've reviewed the others, but I received this for an advanced review and gave it a try even though I have yet to read the first. With that I can say you do not have to have read the first volume to keep up with this story. I'm sure it would always give you more insight into the main character and world he lives in, but is more like a typical murder mystery in the need to have read the previous book: Nice, but not necessary.
One thing I found interesting was the setting. Set in 15th century central america: The Mexica Empire and told using Aztec beliefs as well as a few names from actual Aztec history. It offers a reader a different setting than most fantasy, whether modern urban or typical fantasy fair.
The main character, Acatl-tzin; is called in to investigate a death and ends up mixed up with much more of course. The council he is working with is more concerned with politics than the coming threat of the possibility of the evil gods coming to remake the world. The magic is a bit common, but well handled and seemed very Aztec to me in it's workings.
All in all I think the author did a great job with the society (magic, gods and all) and the plot. The main character was likable enough as the voice of the story. Personally I am interested in going back to read the first volume now.
I think readers that enjoy these 1st person fantasy stories, but are looking for something a bit different in setting and style (or specifically are interested a bit in Aztec history and mythology) will enjoy giving this a try. "Harbinger of the Storm" will be released on January 25th by Angry Robot Press in paperback.
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