Saturday, July 18, 2009

Byzantium's Crown

I have a rocky relationship with trilogies; I try to avoid reading them unless I've got the whole series, since I hate having read one of a series and not being able to find the others. So this book has been sitting on my shelves for over a decade; probably something closer to 20 years. I finally found the others in the series at a second hand book shop and got them (not too cheaply, of course; it was a Newtown secondhand bookshop), and so I figured it was time to read this one.

Also, historical fiction (and/or historical fantasy; I'm not an expert on the divisions between genres) is always a risk to read. When it's good it's great, but mostly it's awful.

Byzantium's Crown, by Susan Schwartz, fell closer to the awful end of the spectrum than the excellent end. The world is "Antony and Cleopatra won at Actium, and there's magic". Which could be cool, but ends up rather disappointing (possibly not quite all the way to awful, though). It may be because I had looked at it for twenty years and was expecting some awesome after this time; it may be also that I automatically end up comparing it to Gillian Bradshaw's excellent historical fiction. I probably should've read this one when I was fifteen; I think it might have been much better back then.

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