One of the few upsides of the coronavirus lock down, is that I have more time to read.
Having completed my move to the Scottish Highlands at what could not have been a better time (so much space, so few people), I am slowly unpacking, a bit at a time, and organising my stuff. I will get writing underway again soon, but there has been so very much to deal with that has filled my head, that hasn’t quite happened yet. Reading, on the other hand…
As a result, I have reviews backing up, so here goes. This one is for Venom of the Black Lotus, a Legends of Tivara book, written by JC Nelson, set in JC Kang’s already well established world (see a few of my earlier reviews).
Blurb: Bolin never regretted being a member of Black Lotus clan. In a sleepy central valley city, he served as the eyes, ears, and fist of the Emperor. Not that the Emperor—or the Clan—has much to say. That is, until Bolin uncovers a traitor with knowledge of Black Lotus poisons. Now, he must journey to the birthplace of the clan, to find the answers to a mystery that could threaten the empire.
For centuries, the Black Lotus Poison masters have held the secrets to toxins that grant them abilities beyond mortal men. Secrets some would kill to possess—or die to protect.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Set in J C Kang’s world of Tivara, Venom of the Black Lotus takes us far deeper into the Black Lotus Clan’s inner workings, and in particular their Poison Masters.
I’ve read most of the Tivara books, and adore the intricate and believable world building, which spans a vast timescale. This book is a welcome addition, exposing yet more Clan training methods, and taking us places we haven’t been before. The plot is solid, and although not written by Kang himself, the characters (and the world) behave in a congruous manner.
Having said that, I did find two areas of confusion which kept me from enjoying it quite as much as I’d hoped.
There were a lot of characters, some with too similar names for me to keep them straight in my head. I fully appreciate the challenge of a large cast, but perhaps a little more personal description (physical or mannerism) of some of them might have helped.
The other is also a challenge for the author – because of the type of society (basically we are dealing with spies), much of what they say isn’t what they mean. A certain amount of that was fine, but there were some times when I was left head scratching, wondering what, exactly, was intended.
I did enjoy the book, and appreciate what it brings to Tivara as a whole, but I think you should already be a fan before you read this one.