REVIEW: High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson
Award-winning author Kelly Robson returns with a lighthearted romp through an 18th-century London featuring flirtatious scribes, irritable fairies, and the dangers of Parliament.
Lana Baker is Aldgate’s finest scribe, with a sharp pen and an even sharper wit. Gregarious, charming, and ever so eager to please, she agrees to deliver a message for another lovely scribe in exchange for kisses and ends up getting sent to Low Parliament by a temperamental fairy as a result.
As Lana transcribes the endless circular arguments of Parliament, the debates grow tenser and more desperate. Due to long-standing tradition, a hung vote will cause Parliament to flood and a return to endless war. Lana must rely on an unlikely pair of comrades—Bugbite, the curmudgeonly fairy, and Eloquentia, the bewitching human deputy—to save humanity (and maybe even woo one or two lucky ladies), come hell or high water.
Oh the lure of a beautiful cover and an interesting sounding blurb. I actually debated for weeks on whether or not I wanted to read this then finally took the plunge because it’s only 160 pages and I can get through that. Right? Only, I can’t. The supposed driving point of the plot (which I think is a satire on Brexit. Or is it the US Senate? Or the EU?) is that there is a Parliament that governs humans that has vicious fairies (and they are mean little bitches) administering it. Currently the Parliamentary voting is hung up in a logjam deadlock and if they can’t pass a vote, the mean fairies will drown everyone. Imminent death ought to be a strong motivator for deputies to get a move on but they only seem to care about making bloviating speeches (that Lana and her fellow scribes are supposed to write down) and I was never made to care or feel any sense of worry or danger about the situation.
I made it halfway through this mess (the reader is just dropped into this world with few explanations), desperately searching for 1) a reason to give a damn or 2) a plot and not finding either. There’s a plethora of mind numbing description and repetitive action that means nothing. No, wait there is no action – there’s only confusion and endless rounds of …. what? Lana cringingly flirting with any woman/fairy who breathes (and there are only women in this book). Lana getting lost wandering up and down and around the never ending stairs of Parliament. Lana getting high on budding yeast with this fairy or the fairy giving Lana some potent feel-good mushrooms. Lana sorta trying to figure out what the hell was going on here. What the hell is going on here? Perhaps chugging a bottle of wine might have helped me.
The blurb almost says it all. An endless circular same, same of … I don’t know what that’s supposed to be … how horrible politics are?? A (boring) satire of politicians? Throw in Lana daydreaming about some deputy she has a crush on because the woman dances by the moonlight in a courtyard that Lana tries but can never find on her own. Also sentence fragments. Sentences with no action verbs. Repeating stuff I don’t understand. So much description of who knows what for what purpose. I’m lost and at the halfway mark I realize I don’t care. I just want out. There. I’m done. If you’re interested in what I’ve described and read it, please come back and explain it all to me. DNF