It felt good to sit behind the wheel again, even the wheel of a battered Dodge Sprinter.
–Harry Connolly - Child of Flame - c.2009
Twenty Palaces : book 1
Ray Lilly is just out of prison and back on the job. His boss, Annalise, is just looking for an excuse to kill him. He betrayed her once and she is very not happy with him. She’s got a job and so that means that Ray does too. She isn’t all that interested in telling him any details though, all she wants is for him to do as he is told.
When they run into a family leaving down and one of the children bursts into flames, Ray begins to get the feeling that something serious is happening. And when the parents and siblings don’t remember anything about the dead child… well, it is certainly something powerful and something unfriendly.
I bought this book ages ago after I saw some post by the author. It also may have been on special offer, I can’t quite recall. But I promptly forgot all about it, until I saw him pop up on my twitter feed. I recognised the name, but couldn’t quite place it at first, then I remembered this book, so when I finished my last read1 I figured I’d give this a go.
It is an enjoyable urban fantasy/action modern magic story. Ray is an engaging narrator, and the action is all go. I did think that there was too much backstory for this to be a book one in a series, so I did a quick search and there is a short story that is listed as the 0.5 (or prequel to you and me) of the series. And that one gives more of the background to Ray and his history with magic. I’d be interested in reading that at some point, because I’d like to learn exactly how Ray reacted when the whole magic deal came to light.
The only other main character is Annalise, and I thought that she was fascinating, although unfortunately we, as readers, don’t really get to know her that well. She isn’t happy with Ray for whatever it was he did, and so she isn’t really talking to him, so we’re left at a bit of a distance from her. But I would be interested in knowing more.
It is an enjoyable read, entertaining and I certainly had no problems in wanting to pick it up again. It does exactly what I think it set out to do, it tells a good story, and I think that I will be reading more by Connolly in the future.