Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish

A Dance of Cloaks 
by David Dalglish
388 pages, 2010
High School+

Thieves versus nobles, guild versus guild!  Within the city, the Spider Guild or thieves and assassins reigns.  At the head of the guild is Thren Felhorn- best of the best.  As his guild and control of other guilds grows, he challenges the power and influence of the Trifect, an alliance of the strongest noble houses.  Warily, all the parties watch each other for threats and maneuvers.

In the middle of all of this is Aaron, Thren's son and heir.  Trained to be a ruthless assassin, at the age of eight he kills his older brother.  5 years later, still training and learning guild ways, his father gives him an assignment- kill a young girl who has just seen her father die.  After chasing her down through the chaos after the father's assassination, he find her praying behind some garbage.  Watching and seeing a different side of life, he is unable to take her life.

But, the consequences of his actions must be faced.  Aaron is disgraced in the eyes of his father, the girl must still be killed by another, and the world must know to not cross Thren and the Spider Guild.  But Aaron's heart is not matching what he has been taught.  Can he survive without his father?  Or will that be his last mistake?

So, first of all, I was unable to finish this book.  Not because it was back, not because it uninteresting, but because of the language and violence.  Lots of language, lots of violence, and fairly graphic violence.  I've read other books with language and violence, but this one was just filled with it.  I'm pretty sure every page had multiple instances of swearing.  Granted, if you are talking about a thieves guild assassinating people and fighting, you'll get violence, but I really didn't need to know what it felt like to have your eye stabbed.  Fantasy violence I can handle, this was just a little to graphic for my tastes.

Besides that, the book was very interesting.  Characters with potential, lots of plots and twists.   I do feel like I wasn't getting to know any character except the main character that well.  And the narration didn't follow him all the time, so you only have limited glimpses of him.  Admittedly, I didn't get more than half way through the book, but the reader was introduced to so many plots and characters that I didn't feel like I had gotten deep into the story or the characters.

Overall, interesting premise, and if I had spent more time with the book (finished reading it plus there are sequels!) I might have gotten over the lack of depth that I perceived.  If you like intrigue, thieves, street thugs, noble houses, plots and violence, then you would like it. If you don't like violence or bad language, don't read it.  Definitely not appropriate for younger kids, high school aged at the earliest.

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