Title: Swords & Scoundrels
Author: Julia Knight
Published: 5th Oct 2015
Hello my fellow Bookworms and page turners,
Today we are looking at the first in the Duelist Trilogy, ‘Swords and Scoundrels’ by Julia Knight.
I picked this one up hoping for some intense, swashbuckling action, which was more than promised in both the cover and the blurb. However, I feel that this one didn’t quite deliver what was promised.
Now this in no way is me saying that this is badly written, or a bad book, should such a thing exist. I had a few false starts with this one, and I think this is partly due to the authors style of writing more than anything else.
The book has an unusual narrative structure, I found that rather than flowing naturally it had a tendancy to jump from the advancing plot to obscure interludes that pad out the characters and inform the reader of their backstories, these jumps often allow the reader to view a situation from a slightly different perspective or give them further information about the plot which allow them to have a different viewpoint to the characters current situation. While these points were needed and seemed initially to be a great idea, I found these interludes, when put into practice, jarring, and I often found myself going back over sections to ensure I somehow didnt skip a page, or forget what was happening in the ‘present’.
The pacing of the story is very slow in the first half of the book, and there is a considerable amount of set up with the protagonists unsure of how they were being manipulated, and lots of intrigue that seemed to be going in many different directions. The pace then sped up considerably around the 45% mark, making the latter half of the book a sprint finish, with alot of action, narrow misses and of course the payoff of the first third of the story.
From a world building perspective, the novel was done very well, If you have read any of my previous reviews you would know that I am a sucker for a steampunk/cyberpunk world, so naturally I thought a clockwork city was an awesome idea. I particularly liked the way that characters interated with the waterworks and gears within the city having narrow misses as they passed through the giant moving gears.
Another positive is that I really liked the characters, they were independant and unique, Kacha and Vocho are quite the pair, and they are definitley the best two characters, the secondary characters whilst intersting, needed a little more meat on the bones but all in all they were enjoyable characters.
Overall, despite its bumps, the story was fun, and I look forward to checking out the rest of the series.
Until next time, read more books!