Monday 3 September 2012

The Outcast Blade

Jon Courtenay Grimwood, 2012
(August 2012)

Prior Concerns –
1. The first of the Assassini trilogy was Othello With Vampires (and Werewolves). The whole ‘classic story X with supernatural entity Y’ trend was always slightly suspect to begin with, and now looks to be dying a not wholly unwelcome death.

2. This is the second part of that trilogy, and middle parts are always a bit awkward taken on their own.

3. In order to make way for the guys with the teeth, the impact of the source characters is significantly reduced. This isn’t necessarily bad, but Iago is one of the most totemic villains in literature and reducing his doppelganger to a bit part feels like trying to write a history of WWII and only mentioning Hitler in the footnotes.

However, the Othello storyline reaches its inevitable conclusion halfway through this book, and from then on all bets are off (despite very obvious nods to other Shakespeare plays). And all the slightly snobbish fun there is in playing spot the reference plays second fiddle to the fact that you just want to read one more chapter, then just one more, then another and then somehow it’s half past three in the morning and you know the kid’s going to be awake in few hours wanting breakfast.

Good stuff.


  1. I was gonna ask where you find the time to do all this reading...then I realized I was gluing hair on a skull as I prepare for Halloween and realize...we MAKE TIME!! :)