West, Michelle -- Battle

Back in the Elantra series I said "Sagara is a very prosaic author." People politely pointed out that I skipped eight of her books, and I maybe shouldn't make assumptions. So maybe she's a writer of very mannered, abstract fantasy who took a sharp turn to write about Kaylin Neya, pragmatic beat cop? And then used some of the same tropes to construct Jewel Markess's childhood?

If so, Battle is back to the mannered-and-abstract stuff. The important characters are all politicians, tailors, butlers, or immortal elf-mages, and so they all have impeccable manners and perfect poker faces. Yes, there are cracks and strains and subtle implications. But I'm starting to suspect that the author threw in three cranky talking cats just so that somebody could swear and claw the furniture once in a while. On Jewel's behalf.

It's a solid story. Stuff happens. But the book is just a little bit of an impenetrable foot-thick slab. I had to take a break halfway through to inhale a Peter Grant novel.

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