Book Reviews 2004 (13-14)

I told you that not having that express bus commute kills my reading rate. So I have two more books, finally, for your edification.
Devlin’s Luck, by Patricia Bray
The House that Jack Built by Robert Asprin and Linda Evans

Devlin’s Luck by Patricia Bray
A first, fantasy novel from Bray, Devlin’s Luck tells the story of a man driven by personal honor and, dare I say it, nihilism, to become greater than he is.
Devlin Stonehand, leaving his recently conquered homeland, travels to the capital of the kingdom of his conquerors to try and become the “Chosen One”. A special agent of the King, approved by the Gods, the position has fallen on hard times and lost just about all of its luster. And yet there is a substantial reward for he who would become the Chosen One–if one is worthy, of course.
Despite appearing as nothing more than a peasant farmer, Devlin persists, and enters into the role. Despite himself and a desire to have his life end honorably, he begins to work within the position and the geas that is bestowed on the Chosen One.
The heart of the story are the characters. Devlin, Captain Drakken, Stephen the bard and others are well drawn and interesting people, with varying agendas, outlooks and goals. I felt pulled forward by the story and Devlin’s goals and how they conflicted with the position he has, improbably, made his own.
It’s the first in a series and I will definitely be looking for the subsequent two books.
Highly Recommended.
The House that Jack Built, by Robert Asprin and Linda Evans
Finishing the story of Ripping Time (reviewed on this blog previously, this continues the story of Skeeter, Kit Carson, Ianira, Jenna and others. It makes no bones about being the missing half to the previous book, starting here is absolutely not recommended under any circumstances.
The stories and plots wrap up very neatly, perhaps a little too neatly, but looking back at the first book and this one in combination, it all makes sense and works as two halves of a whole. I still believe that reading these two first is not the best place to start the series, especially given the denouement and the end to Jack the Ripper as well as references to previous books’ events.
Not recommended–unless you’ve read Ripping Time at the very least.

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