REVIEW: Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher
Stephen’s god died on the longest day of the year…
Three years later, Stephen is a broken paladin, living only for the chance to be useful before he dies. But all that changes when he encounters a fugitive named Grace in an alley and witnesses an assassination attempt gone wrong. Now the pair must navigate a web of treachery, beset on all sides by spies and poisoners, while a cryptic killer stalks one step behind…
Dear Ms. Kingfisher,
Fresh off my love for “Nine Goblins,” I saw this new book and pounced on it. The writing is, as usual, excellent – though the copy I have has a few editorial errors including misspelled words and partial duplicate sentences. The characters are delightful to read and the world building is wonderful without going overboard with unneeded details. By the final quarter of the book, I was certain that all would end in despair as our heroine was surely headed towards a grisly death for a crime she didn’t commit which has all been instituted by nefarious villains. Plus there’s a serial killer on the loose. What was going to happen?? How was the day going to be saved?? And how does all this stuff tie together??
Well, having finished reading it some of my questions remain unanswered. There are wonderful sections when I got completely lost in the story and didn’t care that I didn’t really understand quite what was going on. The characters associated with the Temple of the White Rat are fantastic and I hope to see many more of them many more times. The non-binary lawyer and the Bishop of the Temple are especially due for tons of literary love. They’re enough to make me wish they actually existed off the page and, should I ever need a defense lawyer or protection from the Powers That Be, I could turn to them knowing the servants of the Rat God would help. The humor had me laughing out loud.
The paladins are interesting and the description of what they lost when their God died, and how this almost literally tore apart the few who survived and drove the others to despair and insanity, was done well enough that I could imagine both the joy they used to know and the darkness of their lives now. Stephen being a military man, of course he views things in terms of safety and defense. His concern for Grace and how he expresses that is so “guy.” He’s not one for long flowery speeches but if you need socks to keep your feet warm, Stephen is your man. I do hope that Istvhan’s story will be told and that poor Marcus finds some relief (and that’s more poignant than it sounds).
Grace, bless her heart, (and as a Southerner that could mean two different things but in this case I say it in sympathy), has had a rough row to hoe. Her lack of confidence outside of her mad skills as a perfumer makes total sense. She’s hardly had many people in her life cheering her on and giving positive feedback. When Stephen realized what caused her to act as she does when they first meet, it’s full justification, IMO, for him to pound the person responsible. As to that POS, he gets off far too easily yet seems destined to sink further into a life of poverty so perhaps Grace living life well is revenge enough.
Now as for that other part of the plot, the one I kept waiting to see tied together with what afflicts Grace – WTF? I certainly hope that illumination will come to us all as to what on earth this is all about. Right now, I’m still in the dark along with, it seems, all of the characters in the book. Please – we need a part II of this story.
The romance though is sweet and hot and ultimately something that Grace and Stephen seem to still be working out in a way that will work for them. The hesitation they both have in showing how they feel, or the way they misinterpret the other’s actions, does make sense given their backgrounds and life histories. Grace has had a number done on her as I alluded to earlier while Stephen has legitimate reasons why he keeps feeling he has nothing to offer anyone besides the risk of what could come over him. Still, I ground my teeth in exasperation a few times at the number of scenes that brought them closer only to dash them apart again. Grrrr.
I still recommend this book but perhaps not as a first T. Kingfisher novel seeing as there are unfinished elements and questions remaining. But please, more Temple of the White Rat and paladins of the Saint of Steel. B