The sequel to Amberlough continues the complex plot (and “plot” is the right word), following the successful coup in the first story. (I’m not sure exactly how much of an “armistice” is actually happening)
The main characters have fled the city of Amberlough, but resistance and espionage continues in other locations. The politics is complicated, and gets ever more complex as we discover regional factions, double and triple agents, and subterfuge of many kinds.
It’s all hard to keep track off. Spy versus spy versus spy etc.
In this book, we learn a lot more about many of the characters, and meet a bunch of new folks.
Donnelly gives us yet more complicated gender relations and related politics thereof. It’s head-spinningly confusing. It’s not so much the relations (which are no more or less predictable than the human heart), it’s the variety of social meanings, positive and negative. There are taboos and rules and laws and family reactions, and it all so clearly arbitrary. I assume is part of the point.
Of course, however you slice it, there is love and family, and people will go to great lengths to protect and help the ones they love—no matter how that love is defined, and no matter who does or doesn’t like it. There is politics, and then there is taking care of your family, friends, and partner(s). That’s definitely the important point, no?
As in book 1, there is lavish attention to the “scenery”, fantastic settings, architecture, exotic fashion, and complex cultural situations. Donnelly obviously had fun creating this world, and she is really good at it. (Honestly, though, I haven’t a clue about the clothing. Donnelly’s lovingly detailed descriptions are lost on me.)
The world of Amberlough has technology sort of late twenties in Europe. Much of the action takes place at a film studio, where they are making new-fangled cinematic spectaculars. Apparently, wireless and airplanes have also appeared at least for the elite (these were noticeably not visible in book 1.)
The political situation is careening toward a messy, multi-sided civil war, and our protagonists are deeply involved in.
By the end of book 2, nothing is settled yet, so there will surely be a Book 3.
- Lara Elena Donnelly, Armistice, New York, TOR, 2018.
Sunday Book Reviews