Let’s start this off saying I enjoyed this book immensely. When I first read Dalglish’s Half Orc series, I felt it could have been better. I stopped after book 2. Then I got into a sudden need to read about assassins and I included A Dance of Cloaks in that list. When I finally got to this book, I thought, ‘Judging from Halforcs it will just be o.k.’
Surprise. It’s a good book, a really enjoyable book.
Dalglish and I had a conversation on facebook after I read this book about how his work has grown. I started the conversation asking him about that very thing because I was so surprised by the difference between this book and the first two in Halforcs. He then told me the last 2 in Halforcs are actually better, and he wrote this after book 2 of Halforcs BEFORE he finished that series. Wow.
To see a writer’s growth is an amazing thing.
From prose to characters to setting to the plots, you are drawn in by A Dance of Cloaks. You see a troubled boy with a ruthless father leading him down a path to murder and destruction. You see those struggling to help him, their own internal struggles, the battles between guilds for rule over a city, an inept king, others plotting for control, and underlying it all the magic and power gods can give to men.
You see people struggle to survive, sometimes trying to achieve the greater good while others plot and scheme for their own benefit. It all leads to a plot where you’re not quite sure who should be considered evil or who should be considered good. There’s a lot of gray areas to work with and in a book like this, gray makes for intrigue and a read you won’t want to end. The first chapter alone caught me so off guard that I had to continue.
Dalglish said in this book and to me on facebook that reading G.R.R.M inspired him for this book and the way his style has changed. And it’s not a bad thing. It is a good thing. The prose and the plots reflect that. The best part is knowing that unlike one of my other favorite series, Dalglish has actually concluded this one, and shortly I will be off to the read the others.
If you haven’t read this book. Go get it.