The Book Depository Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

4.4 out of 5 stars
The Book Depository Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
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Description: Amberlough : Paperback : St Martin's Press : 9780765383822 : 0765383829 : 13 Feb 2018 : Welcome to Amberlough City, the illustrious but corrupt cosmopolitan beacon of Gedda. The radical One State Party--nicknamed the Ospies--is gaining popular support to unite Gedda's four municipal governments under an ironclad, socially conservative vision. Not everyone agrees with the Ospies' philosophy, including master spy Cyril De Paul and his lover Aristide Makricosta, smuggler and emcee at the popular Bumble Bee Cabaret. When Cyril's cover is blown on a mission, however, he must become a turncoat in exchange for his life--. The Book Depository Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly - shop the best deal online on thebookbug.co.uk

 

Category: Books

Merchant: The Book Depository

Product ID: 9780765383822

MPN: 0765383829

GTIN: 9780765383822

 
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Author: Owen Blacker

Rating: 5

Review: I've been exclusively reading queer fiction this year, to raise my mood and this is not the queer joy I had been looking for. It is, however, a wonderful look at a flawed beauty, just as it comes to an inevitable end. Several reviews and blurbs mention John le Carré and Cabaret, both of which are apt comparators. Our three protagonists are a spy with trauma in his past; his lover, a smuggler and leading man / drag queen at the titular city's hottest club; and his leading lady, a awesome brassy broad. The creeping fascism coming to destroy and reshape their city isn't subtle and all three are doing the best they can with the shitty hands available to them. It's heartbreaking at so many points and needs a CONTENT NOTE for on-page torture and murder. Donnelly did an excellent job at stripping me raw yet leaving me some hope, even as so much and so many are lost. I'm definitely looking forward to reading both sequels. But maybe after reading something lighter first. (And you should definitely read the reviews by Seth Dickinson and "Optimist ?King's Wench?")

 

Author: Bertolt

Rating: 3

Review: A number of reviewers thought this fabulous, but I didn’t quite. It is set in a sort of fictional Central Europe in the ‘30s and concerns the rise of a Nazi-like party, and a small group of interconnected people who either collaborate or fight it. The author has clearly watched ‘Cabaret’ a lot: much of the action takes place around a Berlin-style nightclub, and concerns its performers and clients. I suspect they have also read some historical spy fiction – there is little actual spying but there is a recognisable tone. The writing is good – not as good as some have claimed, I think, but more than okay. Characterisation is good, sometimes excellent. One of the best features of the book is its depiction of a ‘scandalous’ and interesting diversity, its milieu mixing gay and straight, male and female, different ethnicities, in implicit opposition to the buttoned-up ideology of the Nazi types. For all that, it is somehow a bit unsatisfying. Its alternate world isn’t interesting of itself, is just a fantasised simplification of a certain moment of European history: all its detail, its coffees and newspapers and trams, is a version of what we already know from films. Yet the story lacks a certain urgency precisely because it isn’t set historically, its events not getting that extra bump from reality. Ultimately, it is left to characters to carry the weight of the book, and while they are interesting, that isn’t enough. The whole way through I felt I *should* have been enjoying it more, and when I got to the end I didn’t have an urge to buy the second book in the series. In an ideal world I would probably give this three and a half stars, just for being quite smart in an ocean of stupid. Here, I am giving it three because four stars would give the wrong impression. Finally, it WAS a little unsatisfying, offering neither the pleasures of historical fiction nor of alternative history, and that did matter.

 

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