Allies and Assassins by Justin Somper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It's fashionable to use "Game of Thrones" as a cultural marker but to me, Gormenghast is the better comparison: a realm fixed in tradition, with roles and rituals determined by both birth and What's Come Before. Despite this, change is coming because two kings have died in two years, and the most recent death isn't natural. Which of the Twelve can the new king, Jared, trust? Who would dare kill not only a King but his Consort, carrying his child?
More of the rituals and court life would have been nice, but here they're shoehorned into the action sequences and investigation. And that investigation seems a little too based on coincidence, even though we're supposed to believe it's a real investigation. Example? The interrogation sequences. My hope is that the second book is a little better paced and a little less trying to be a mystery and a character piece and a fantasy in one.
ARC provided by publisher.