Book Review: The Imlen Brat by Sarah Avery

oh my god.

I did it again.

In my desperate hunt for decent fantasy (on netgalley. There’s a lot of VERY decent fantasy out at the moment, but I spent the last of my teeny tiny book allowance on NK Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate and can’t afford anything else until February. It was worth every penny, by the way, her writing is INCREDIBLE), I stumbled across the Imlen Brat, was accepted as a reader and dove in.

At first, I didn’t like it. The character is young (like 7) and while Avery has done a brilliant job of capturing the trials and obsessions of a 7 year old in a 7 year old’s voice, I own a 7 year old and reading is my main way of escaping from her. I like my fantasy point of view to come from someone older, like 15+. But I kept reading and you get introduced to the world and the ruling class and their politics in a way that’s not too in your face. And the world looks goooooood. The politics are complicated, the intrigue is… well, intriguing. There’s a foster system, there are honour killings for fucking outside one’s class, there’s an island with a castle in a maze and people have the ability to kin-curse those they are related to. And there’s a bastard child in the middle of it who will either be trained as a soldier, a pirate or an assassin.

……………and then it fucking ends.

70 pages of yes (well, 20 pages of omg, I’m really desperate for fantasy fiction, and 50 pages of omg, I’m really glad I stayed with this) and then, nothing. Fuck you, Sarah Avery, with your sample size serving of REALLY EXCELLENT writing.

Ok, it’s worth the read. If you want to know how a good author sets up a political system, read this novella – it’s a great example of showing, not telling (which is difficult with complicated worlds). It’s realistic, emotional, well told and as much as I do not like 7 year olds (especially today – she had a melt down in Target), she has nailed character action, voice and expression.

Please write the rest. For the love of all things holy, write the rest!

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