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Old 09-27-2007, 03:19 PM View Post #1 (Link) The Skewed Throne, by Joshua Palmatier
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The Skewed Thone takes place in Amenkor, a city that used to be a vast center of power and trade. But 1000 years ago, the White Fire – a strange force from far away – swept through the city, changing people and beginning Amenkor’s slow decline into famine and disease. It recovered, but the Fire came again five years ago, and it passed through a girl named Varis.

As an orphan, Varis has to struggle, steal, and fight for survival in the Dredge – a marketplace between Amenkor’s slums and its wealthy houses. The Fire gave her a strange ability to see the true nature of people, and she can easily see who’s dangerous and who isn’t. The story is told in first person through her eyes as she becomes more and more involved in a dire conflict. The Mistress, unquestionable ruler of Amenkor, has been giving stranger and stranger orders to her guards and the populace, and some are beginning to think the Fire did something to her. As the story progresses, Varis’s character changes, and so do her acquaintances, though she insists she is and always will be a survivor.

As far as fantasy books go, this is one of the darker ones. There are many scenes of gory death and attempted rape in the book which are explained in great detail. One of the book’s major themes is: who deserves to die, and who doesn’t? This is something Varis has to decide on several different occasions.

Varis herself is an interesting character. Although she works as an assassin, she always has a strong sense of justice, which sometimes makes her conflict with the very people she works with. In addition, her life is all about survival, and the story tells numerous ways in which she makes a living. Her thoughts and plans take a lot into consideration, and the author did a great job in fleshing her out this way.

The story is well-paced, because Varis is always going somewhere or attempting to complete some new mission. The first half of the book is a tad slow because new characters are introduced slowly, and the plot is more linear. But by the end of the book, the pace quickens and everything comes together for an interesting climax. In fact, the word “derivative” didn’t cross my mind at any point in the story.

Do I want to read the sequel? Yes.

In summary, read this book if you want a unique story set in medieval times. Don’t read it if you don’t like the idea of frequent blood.

Here's the official webpage for this book if you want to read more.
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