The Outcast Blade (Act Two of The Assassini)

The Outcast Blade

By: Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Published: March 26, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown & Company

Series: Vampire Assassini Trilogy Series

Genre: Science fiction & fantasy

Titillating, gut wrenching and completely enthralling, after all who doesn’t love a book about corruption, politics, love and treason in good old Venice? Those key aspects were what I loved about this novel. Set in Venice and the 15th century you have a tormented love story between Guiletta, “virgin, mother, widow” and Tycho, the other main protagonist who is “Fallen”. He’s a Vampire, except that it is never said explicitly, which is what made this novel so great. The subtleties and creative texture that went into every sentence was amazing. Who doesn’t love a good use of language? The creative design on the characters to keep the ambiguity of a characters sexual orientation was also very done, after all Venice is known for it’s lustful history.

This book follows Tycho, newly knighted as he lived in the city he hates and tries to make the woman he loves, love him back, continues to live tortured by secrets and afraid of the daylight. The Byzantine and German emperors plot war against each other, Venice’s future rests in the hands of not only Tycho but Lady Giulietta as well. Virgin Mother and Widow, Lady Giulietta tries to escape the poisonous world of court to mourn her husband but is subjected as the prize of the country, where single handed she must choose knowing that whichever suitor she rejects will become Venice’s bitterest enemy.

That being said, the plot itself was structured very well, it was easy to follow, both the outside and inside plot’s of the novel were exceptional detailing very well the attribution of Venice as well as carefully structuring and presenting of the inside turmoil and deviousness of the characters.

And, oh my god, all the political intrigue and plots were magnificent! All that treachery and underhand tactics in the royal court, it was gritty and stylistically detailed to capture me and out me into the scene. Political upheaval is just so good! To coincide with all the tension, it made the overall plot move effortlessly keeping me interested in the story as a whole.

Not to mention the sex in the book, because of course you can’t write a novel set in Venice and not have sex presented in it in good conscious, it was not there just to be there. What I mean it, each scene that represented sex in a charismatic way, the details, the motions were clever and not once derogatory. Not to mention, it was hinted of being used in violent ways, but never shown as much, which raises to much respect in me for the author. Bravo!

Nevertheless, there were some choppy parts in regards to dialogue and context clues. There were times, due to long periods of no attribution that turned me around making me lose my place sometimes. Those ties into context clues, attribution needs to be more concise as do the scene specifics of the scenes themselves so that the reader doesn’t get lost because it’s a great book that you can’t put down. Therefore, as you’re reading, if you miss a word or something flies over your head, you’re going to get turned around a bit because the specifics of the scenes as well as the attribution to dialogue were lacking a bit.

In addition, the Editor’s didn’t catch many sloppy mistakes, especially in part 2 of the book. The Othello resemblance felt unoriginal: Atilo is a moor who is engaged to Desdaio a beautiful Venetian woman and Iacapo is the evil guy who wants to see them both fall. There was even a moment that Iacapo was called Iaco, which is too close a resemblance to Iago. It fit the story well but was an unoriginal concept.

However, despite those little bumps in the road the reader is always knew whose point of view it was. That was a key detail in the structure that was never lacking. For each character, there is enough detail to show just how much they had grown since the first book, and a new level of understanding of who they are showed within the pages. Guiletta was no longer this bratty character, she was a mesmerizing strong woman who felt broken, With her, the writing allows for the reader to understand her character, even through the eyes of others because of the detail expressed on her facial expressions and her gestures, small and big. I am in love with Tycho because his characterization was simply amazing. The pain of this character, his torment, the very human qualities that make your heart ache are just so great. There was just so much good internal dialogue that his character enraptured me. What his character did was also bring about more Desdaio, she is a character you can fall in love with who also resembles Aerith from Final Fantasy VII. She was beautiful to read about, a beautiful character to be in this book. Oh my god, Tycho is Cloud. Once you read this book, if you’re a Final Fantasy fan you will see, they are Aerith and Cloud. Not sure is Guiletta is Tifa, there is the possibility that she could be.

To be brief, Alonzo is a character you love to hate and Alexa is a character who you can’t help but respect. The tension and war between those two is the best thing to read! Now, with Rosalyn, we see something new brought to the table. She is the satirical character who has suffered beyond her years and a strong character we readers can connect to easily and sympathize this.

Who doesn’t love Venice, vampires, political upheaval, treason, war, love, torment…I could go on and on, and this book has it all. ★★★★★(A-)



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