Review: Endurance by Jay Lake

by on Dec.13, 2011, under Reviews

I have to admit I was looking forward to rejoining Green in the cold northern city of Copper Downs. As I said in my review of Green, I had found her story delightful and very real, very present to me. Endurance does not disappoint. In fact, the greatest risk you’d find in Endurance is what I found far too often this week: you’ll realize it was nearly dawn and you had better set it down and catch a few hours sleep.

Green is older now, and during this book she learns to handle problems with greater dexterity and even a little wisdom. But life is throwing challenges at her faster than anyone would wish, and the story is leisurely for only a few dozen pages before becoming a dashing, dodging twirl and flip of an entirely engaging and well-planned plot.

Did I say plot? Oh, no, there are dozens of plots. The plots of the reconstituted council in Copper Downs. Blackblood. The embassy from Kalimpura which has recently arrived. A rebellion. Magicians. Lily Blased. And oh hey, why not a few god killers too? Playing to win. Playing to Lose. Even Green learns to plan her steps forward, and adds strategy to her arsenal of deadly tools.

It’s a twisting mass of engagements, tricks, deception and triumph. But Jay does a wonderful job of leading the reader through it: he kept me shivering with anticipation, but never confusing me. It’s a brilliant display of craft to pull someone through deeply interwoven plots without confusing them, and Jay handled it brilliantly.

Can I recommend it? Absolutely. But I warn you, don’t take it bed unless you haven’t got anywhere to be in the morning.

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