Review: Katharine Kerr & Mark Kreighbaum – Palace

Palace
Katharine Kerr & Mark Kreighbaum

Vida is destined for sexual slavery, even as she tries to escape the protective confines of anonymity in a brothel. A lucky ‘chance’, set up by the previous generation means that there could be a way out – if only her fiancé would stop drinking and she can manages not to be killed by the Lep assassin sent against her. Meanwhile, someone is destroying the Map and making a mess of the whole basis of Palace’s society.

While I was most interested in Vida as the strong female protagonist, the cheeky Rico got a lot of my attention too. The rapid changes in perspective seemed clean and sensible, and I didn’t find myself wishing that I was back with the last person. It kept me reading frantically to the end. 

Look, I thought it would be hard for me to keep track of which character was which, and which person acted for each faction. The factor/mentor/mentee relationships became more clear over the course of the novel. And indeed, I feel like I’d like to read it again, just to make sure that I got all the points in it. But my complaint was that the novel felt unfinished. Yes, some people suffered, but other people just got away with things!
The torturing methods described were a little graphic. But then I have a thing about eyes. So if you don’t like torture, just skip over that paragraph or so. The death of a thousand cuts is fine though. Just not my eyes, my poor eyes!
Ah, to live in a world with a true mix of fantasy and sci-fi. The cyber-hardware could have been explained in more detail. I found it interesting that the different pieces of a person’s body could have different implants, but it wasn’t really clear why this was the case. The world building on the other hand was detailed, and the authors made a point of reminding us readers why each place was important, but did it as subtly as possible that I didn’t just skip over those parts.
While I was drawn to this novel because it had Katherine Kerr as an author, I’ve actually only enjoyed a subsection of her prolific writing. That was way back before I got into fantasy proper. The promise of an equal collaboration, combined with the attractive blurb got me eager to read it. However, once I got into the novel, I felt like the blurb wasn’t actually very accurate. Yes, it has those characters in it, but the focus is not at all on Arno. In fact, I’m not sure he even ever gets a change to ‘speak’ with his own written voice during the text.
I picked this novel up from my local Op-Shop for a grand total of, um, maybe 50c? Or $1? Totally worth it. 4 stars from me, only because I don’t feel the need that I have to reread it right now, and I was content to move on to another book, even though this one left me gasping for air near the end.
I have just had a look on Goodreads and it seems there is a sequel. Given that my copy is a beaten up old one, is there anyone out there who has a copy of the second novel? It looks like these novels haven’t been touched by reviewers anywhere in recent history!

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2 thoughts on “Review: Katharine Kerr & Mark Kreighbaum – Palace

  1. Hi! There are two sequels… I only just found out myself. This book is one of my very favourites and I’ve read it at least five or six times. Love it.

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