BOOK REVIEW: The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells. Swashbuckling Gothic Fantasy

The Death of the Necromancer (Ile-Rien, #2)The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d always planned on reading THE DEATH OF THE NECROMANCER but it was out of print by the time I got around to it. Thanks to technology, the novel has a new life. It’s a kind of “gaslight” fantasy, set in an ancient city that has overtones of Belle Epoch Paris and Dickensian London where magic exists alongside steam trains and gas lights. Vienne, with its decadent Great Houses, predatory aristocracy and pockets of ruin, is a character in it’s own right. The master criminal Nicholas Valiardre is the debonair, dashing hero. (I cast Ryan Gosling as Valiardre). The female lead, the actress and amateur sorceress Madeline is a secondary POV–I saw Jennifer Lawrence in this role. The plot of a mix of court intrigue, mystery and penny dreadful. References include Dangerous Liaisons, the works of Dumas and the Gothic fiction of LeFanu or Gaston Leroux.

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