The Palace Job review

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The Palace Job is the first Fantasy novel for Patrick Weekes. He has already released a couple of short stories and is working at Bioware as a senior writer, having worked on the Mass Effect stories.  The author will also release a tie-in for the Dragon Age video game this month.  The Palace Job was published in October last year by 47North.
The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family. 
With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven's Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family's treasure. 
It'd be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in. 
But hey, every plan has a few hitches.
If you take a closer look at the members of the team gathered by Loch, the main protagonist, you soon find out that Weekes' goal is to tackle the Fantasy tropes. Moreover, it's clear, and the book was advertised as such, that The Palace Job is using a humorous approach. However, that's not the only ambition standing out, Weekes is also trying to deliver the story of a heist full of surprises and double-crosses. Did he succeed? Let's find out.

From the beginning, when we become acquainted with Loch and her sidekick and partner in crime Kail, the feeling left by the setting, a mix of Medieval and Steampunk-Technological Fantasy, the fast paced action and even the narrative, is one I have found more often than not in videogames. I'm pretty sure that there is a nice dose of Final Fantasy influence in Weekes' book. His background may show a bit in this aspect but that's a good thing, it works and still feels original. And then, as the story unfolds, again with the action and dialogue centered narrative, I even felt a blockbuster stoyline vibe. This book would adapt finely to the big screen.

After the first third of the book, the full team, in all their stellar, eccentric and colorful ways, is united in a common goal but for very distinctive reasons.  Each one is given just enough spotlight to leave an impression. For some of them, like the death priestess and her warhammer, Ghylspwr or Icy Fist the Imperial, I was eager for more background but to keep the story tight, I understand that Weekes had to choose his digression wisely after the initial presentation. Speaking of tightness, still for the sake of it, the author didn't dwell too much on the descriptive aspect of writing but offered enough to quench some imaginative cravings.

So far, the humor delivered both by direct jokes thrown by the characters (Kail could have given some slack to his mother jokes redundancy) and by the presence and nature of the protagonists themselves was spot on. I grinned several times but was eventually caught up in the more serious plot taking shape. I'm not certain if that slight change of tone was intended by the author or if he too, was caught up by it but there's clearly a shift toward the more severe, intricate game of deception. Loch's nemesis, his minions and his partners are well aware that she's targeting them and several interesting face-off are carried out. Still, I would have preferred a more constant humorous outline.

Finally, after a very fast read, all the answers are given and the lasting impression left by the aftermath is a satisfying one. The relationships that evolved throughout the book between the characters are easily taken for granted after such an adventure and the overall resolution of the palace job is more than pleasing.

What would you say of an Ocean Eleven in a funny Fantasy setting full of stereotypical characters stretched to their limit and fitting in perfectly but weirdly? Sounds nice enough? If so, The Palace Job is right down your alley. Moreover, you can get the e-book edition for less than 5 bucks!

Technically, I think that the 47North cover is a perfect fit for the book with the more obvious tropes of the protagonists highlighted. The paperback edition of the book stands at 256 pages. No maps are included and none should have been.

The Palace Job review rating :

Characterization
World building
Magic system 
Story
Writing

Overall (not an average)




1 comments:

Sarah Merchant said...

I really liked this book. The humour and action meshed well, and created a very enjoyable read.

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