The following is my first review for Angry Robot books. It's a little late; I blame the holiday hustle and bustle for that. And to be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book. I tend to not like those multisyllable names that permeate works derived from Latin or Aztec histories but I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed and really enjoyed it! Yes, the author has thoroughly researched the language, customs, and such but uses it just enough to flavor her narrative, not over power it. The book reads more like a mystery rather than dark fantasy; either way, it's very hard to put down. It opens when Acatl-tzin, high priest for the Dead, is called upon to help solve the presumed murder of Eleuia, offering priestess of Xochiquetal and candidate to become consort to Xochipilli. As much as he is reluctant at first, he is forced to help because his estranged brother Neutemoc is the prime suspect for the murder. From here Acatl's journey goes through many twists, showcasing his world, it's Gods and their customs and politics. As I said, alot of research has been done by the author and it is in the descriptions of the Empire and its citizens and dieities that we get the payoff. This book is beautifully written and a pleasure to lose oneself in. I wasn't familiar with de Bodard before but reading this book has me looking forward to her next one AND I was also happy to find a story of hers in the February issue of Realms of Fantasy! Please see for yourself and pick up a copy!!
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