The Outcast Blade: Act Two of the Assassini

Cynthia Ayala ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

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Author: 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, and 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 newly knighted Tycho 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. 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 all the political intrigue was  magnificent! All that treachery and underhand tactics in the royal court, it was gritty and stylistically detailed to capture the reader 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. It was not there just to be there. Each scene 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.
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. Attribution in context clues needs to be more concise, as do the 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. Tycho’s 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 was beautiful to read about, a beautiful character to be in this book.
Who doesn’t love Venice, vampires, political upheaval, treason, war, love, torment…I could go on and on, and this book has it all. ★★★★★

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