Book Review – “Pathfinder Tales: Blood of the City” by Robin D. Laws
BLOOD OF THE CITY by Robin D. Laws – Reviewed by Gilberto Galvez
Magnimar is a city with personality, and one of the few people who truly understands its personality is Luma Derexhi. She is a “cobblestone druid,” a spellcaster who uses the city as her source of magic, and a member of House Derexhi, a prestigious family of mercenaries. Luma and her younger siblings form the elite company in the house. Unfortunately, although she is the eldest of her five siblings, she is also a bastard and a half-elf, and her siblings look down on her. Luma decides that she has had enough and stands up to her siblings, but they don’t take it too well. She finds that the people she used to trust aren’t trustworthy any longer, and she and a team of her new allies attempt to put a stop to the newest conspiracy in the city.
The best part of this book was Luma’s magic. It was interesting to see her experience every new trick the city taught her, and the possibilities seemed endless. I enjoyed reading how different the citysong sounded in each section of the city, but there was one thing about her magic I found annoying. The personification of Magnimar makes an appearance at one point in the middle of the book, and is then never heard from again. Luma doesn’t even think to consult her for advice or pray to her somehow.
The worst part of this book was the characterization. In the first chapter, we are introduced to Luma and her five siblings, and I had trouble telling them apart for a long time. Their dialogue isn’t very unique for each character, which was the major problem. Every group conversation that Luma was involved in had the other characters doing nothing but providing information with words that any one of them could have used. Luma’s one-on-one conversations usually had more unique dialogue with the character she spoke to, but I would have liked this to be the same for all of her conversations. Other than that, I could tell the characters apart through their actions and appearance, but dialogue is usually what really makes a character.
None of the events that made up the plot were surprising except for Luma’s complete change of character after she experienced a traumatizing event, but I guess it was slightly believable. Other than that, the ending happened mostly as expected with only Luma’s new found hardness changing anything. The last scene was surprisingly powerful because of it.
The strengths of this novel were based mostly on the world that had already been set up for it. I might try to look for more Pathfinder Tales after reading this one. Maybe some of the others will have more than just an interesting world. Still, it was an okay read, and I would recommend it to those who need something quick or are involved with the gaming world.
In the future, Gilberto Galvez sees himself as an English teacher writing in his spare at time. In the present, he’s a high schooler attempting to write in his spare time. He has a few unfinished novels in the cloud due to NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, and he’s also written quite a few short stories. When he isn’t writing, he’s either working, reading, or on Twitter. It’s usually Twitter.