Science fiction and fantasy
Principles of Angels
by Jaine Fenn
Meanwhile a singer called Elarn Reen is visiting the city from a distant planet. She's straight-laced and gentle, so the noise and obscene colour of the floating city is a culture shock for her. When she meets Salik Vidoran, a disgraced politician, he seems to be able to offer her a sanctuary in a strange and unsafe place. But Elarn has more than singing on her agenda. Can she trust Vidoran, and what is the politician's interest in her anyway?
Khesh City is a vivid, brilliantly imagined place peopled with Angels, meatbabys, lags, downsiders, rollers and smoky coves. There's a rich, evocative language used by the characters, and more often than not their expressions reflect a life lived hanging precariously at a height. Not falling is all-important: dodgy thinking is "gappy", whilst good things are "bolted" and secure. Water is precious, and people have learned to live with varying gravity in a place that's so incomprehensible that parts of it border on magical.
Principles of Angels has great suspense and a palpable sense of danger as Taro and Elarn navigate the brutal and complex maze of Khesh politics and death-dealing Angels. There's a certain amount of wince-inducing violence thanks to sadistic foreigners and small-time thugs looking to claw their way to the top. The novel really hits its stride about half-way in though, when furious action mixes with an intriguing plot and the question of the difference between love and manipulative illusion. This multi-layered story explores themes of coercion and mind control against a backdrop of aliens, enigmatic technology and breathtaking high-up action. As they say in Khesh City, it's pure blade.
14th June 2011
If you like this, try:City of Dreams and Nightmare by Ian Whates
A young man goes on the run in an unusual city in this fantasy adventure.