mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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The Alchemy Between the Stars. (76)

City of the Fallen Sky by Tim Pratt.

Across scarab'd sands,
on the backs of wing'd apes,
to the mad starprince.

Listen, the cover of this book has a dude throwing grenades at a leukodaemon, how can you go wrong with that. Really, in a nutshell, that is what I have to say about this book: it is about a Pathfinder alchemist. You know how Pathfinder's alchemists work? Three big tricks. One, they can duplicate a lot of spells through brewing potions. Two, they can throw grenades. Three, they make a serum that can turn them into Mister Hyde. What more could you ask? The guy has an actual "turn into the Hulk" power, & a bunch of Molotov cocktails. My only problem is the...skill at which Pratt writes the protagonist. A bit of an introvert & socially awkward, he's your stereotypical "engineer" sort. Which means that when he gets around beautiful women he is a little...Nice Guy™. You know, "I'm so nice & noble that I'm sulking that she hasn't repaid my kindness with sex!" Now, it isn't over the line, & it isn't authorial-- it is the character Alaeron's internal monologue, not the author's-- but it undermined my ability to like the guy. Luckily, they go globe trotting-- the story really explores the lost cities of Golarion, from the crashed spaceship-mountain at the center of Numeria to the fallen city of Kho...all that was missing was a stop-off at Xin-Shalast. My favorite part of the book is actually a trap; while exploring the Silver Mountain, the epic spacehulk, the protagonist's mentor is caught in a "trap." It manifests as the room following her feet when she walks in, & then several flickering beams of light shooting into her eyes. In a room of black glass with seven dimensional charts, non-Euclidean geometry, she starts shouting "I see! It's so much!" While blood starts pouring from her nose, her ears. Her brain fries, & as far as I can tell it is because she's trying to use Cthulhu's iPad. I like that a lot.
Tags: books, haiku, paizo, pathfinder, pratt

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