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I nearly gave it a mark out of three since it feels like just half a book. It's quite short and such is it's plodding delivery we really don't get through much plot. Needless to say we don't get to the end of the story which is continued in another book. I've a nasty suspicion that it might take another one after that to come to a conclusion. Nor is the lack of progress due to some huge, intricate LotR or GoT canvas being painted here. There is just a single story arc and only four significant characters. The chief reason for the slow action is that a ridiculous amount of ink is squandered on "sardonic" banter, most of which struggles to reach the level of witty sophistication of a US TV teen series. Worse still we are constantly being treated to the ruefully self-deprecating innermost thoughts of the two main characters (rendered in italics) interspersed with the corny repetitive dialogue. That said there are a few interesting ideas and the writing (dialogue aside) is not the worst I've encountered in novels of this genre (not a high bar). Is it sufficient for me to continue to the next book? It is at least a consideration.
Kingfisher explains at the end of book how she wrote this in a dark time. Because of that you can really see the struggle she was going through within the story. Bleak outlooks and languishing plot lines are broken up by quips and witty phrases that the characters (and the author) use to cope. I love the idea of a ninja accountant who is allergic to major plot points, but I felt like this book was a chore for all involved and lacked direction; I could barely finish it. Italicized thoughts were overused and it snuffed out my excitement for reading. I have no interest in the next part; I feel like it could have been more focused into one book. Kingfisher had a passion for the characters, and I'm glad she wrote it, but I do not recommend this for anyone who's first book from this author will be this one. I loved the Raven and the Reindeer so start with something like that and give this one a pass until you fall in love with her other writings. I would not recommend to my friends unless they are already fans of Kingfisher. All in all, It’s a DND quest but it’s not as fun when you’re not rolling the dice.
The summary and characters gripped me initially, but it wasn't far into the story when I realised it was going to be a long and meandering journey to the climax, over several books. It did not have enough to hold my interest.