This review is from: Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners (Mass Market Paperback)Having just read Lynn Flewelling's wonderful Nightrunner books, I noticed that a lot of readers who enjoyed those, also enjoyed this novel - so decided to try it.
I love strong well imagined characters in books - Fitz and the Fool (farseer), Alec and Seregil (Nightrunner), Louis and Lestat (Vampire chronicles) whose voices you can hear - whose humour is funny and whose wit is sharp. Sadly, for me, the characters of Richard St Vier and Alec simply do not shine, and the book was intensely dull and boring because of it.
The story is of a swordsman (Richard) who lives in the poor part of an unnamed city with his lover (Alec) - an ex university scholar with a mysterious past. So mysterious infact that Richard doesn't even know who his lover really is - and, unrealistically, seems quite content not to know. Richard is hired by the nobles "on the hill" to fight duels on their behalf and in doing so, becomes embroiled in the political machinations of the scheming nobles.
Firstly, I found it hard to actually really imagine the setting for the story, and then the politics really bored me. My main issue was the characters though - so flat, dull and lifeless. When they spoke, I was reminded of bad actors reading from an idiot board. Richard seemed a bit stupid and without any real emotion, and Alec didn't really seem to even like his lover. I'm completely puzzled actually by their relationship - there was nothing holding them together at all.