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Review: Babylon Steel, Gaie Sebold

b“Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex-other things, runs the best brothel in Scalentine; city of many portals, two moons, and a wide variety of races, were-creatures, and religions, not to mention the occasional insane warlock. She’s not having a good week. The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, women in the trade are being attacked, it’s tax time, and there’s not enough money to pay the bill. So when the mysterious Darask Fain offers her a job finding a missing girl, Babylon decides to take it. But the missing girl is not what she seems, and neither is Darask Fain.

In the meantime twomoon is approaching, and more than just a few night’s takings are at risk when Babylon’s hidden past reaches out to grab her by the throat.”

Babylon Steel is the freshest, lightest and most entertaining fantasy I’ve read in a very long time. For anyone who’s had enough of medieval style fantasy, or is rapidly tiring of the new Eastern trend,  Sebold offers a whole new bag of tricks. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone else who, like me, is late to the party with this one, I’m just going to say…cross world portals. Genius.

It’s a fascinating mix of sword and sorcery fantasy with a pinch of Sci-Fi that works brilliantly. For me it was the diverse mix of races and characters that made this such an interesting read. Character driven fantasy is always what floats my personal boat, and Sebold does an outstanding job of creating a cast of characters that offer something unique whilst retaining enough familiarity to make me feel at ease. Babylon is a fantastic female protagonist, and that’s not a comment I can make often within this genre!

I really enjoyed the parallel chapter set-up of the past and present threads, that’s not usually a technique that I’m a fan of because it can often make the story feel disjointed, and there usually tends to be one you’ll have a preference for and one that you’ll tire of faster..but here they work perfectly together. The plot on both sides is pacey and interesting throughout, and the world Sebold creates is a fitting playground for some beautifully imagined and vividly portrayed individuals.

Sebold writes with a sharp wit, and has breathed fresh life into my favourite genre. I can’t fault Babylon Steel, it’s a massive amount of fun. I’d recommend it to anyone who has a sense of humour and an appreciation for originality.

 

5 A PhoenixFantasy Five Star Read

 

[Babylon Steel is published by Solaris and is available in paperback or electronic format.]

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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Dangerous Gifts, Gaie Sebold

What a nice end to a rubbish day in the office, another ARC has graced my virtual doormat in the form of Sebold’s Dangerous Gifts. Thank you, lovely Solaris.

DANGEROUS GIFTS“Gaie Sebold’s brilliant female character, Babylon Steel, returns in January – but has the warrior-turned-brothel-owner taken on a job too far?

Babylon has been offered a job. Two jobs, really: bodyguard to Enthemmerlee, a girl transformed into a figure of legend and spy for the barely-acknowledged government of Scalentine. A prime target for assassination, Babylon must somehow turn Enthemmerlee’s useless household guard into a fighting force, while dodging the oppressive Moral Statutes. All of which would be hard enough, were she not already distracted by threats to both her livelihood and those dearest to her…

Witty and fresh, Babylon Steel was the most exciting fantasy debut in years. With Dangerous Gifts, Sebold returns to her fascinating heroine and delves further into Babylon’s world of pleasure and business with a novel that will appeal to fans of action, fantasy, and pure adventure!”

I’m ashamed to confess that Babylon Steel is one of those books I always mean to read but never seem to get around to. And now I have a good reason to rectify that asap, as my OCD means I can’t possibly read any series out of order! I’m on a day off tomorrow, and off into town with my son which means a bookshop run is on the cards, so I’ll pick Steel up and lost myself in some strong female characters this weekend, perfect 🙂

b“Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex… other things, runs The Red Lantern, the best brothel in the city. She’s got elves using sex magic upstairs, S&M in the basement and a large green troll cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and she’d love you to visit, except…

She’s not having a good week. The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, girls are disappearing, and if she can’t pay her taxes, Babylon’s going to lose the Lantern. She’d given up the mercenary life, but when the mysterious Darask Fain pays her to find a missing heiress, she has to take the job. And then her past starts to catch up with her in other, more dangerous ways.”

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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