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The Providence of Fire, by Brian Staveley

Review copy provided by Tor Books.

This is the second book in a series. The first one, some of you will recall, was a bit disappointing in that it focused on the two brothers who were fairly standard fantasy novel archetypes and gave very little space to their sister who was a princess who was also Minister of Finance.

Well! You will be pleased to know that Adare, the princess in question, appears a great deal more in this book.

She is no longer Minister of Finance. She acts very little like a former Minister of Finance. I don’t really understand why Brian Staveley came up with a POV character who was Minister of Finance if he didn’t want to write about one.

Also in increased content over the previous book: torture. Lots and lots more torture. General misery, despair, and definitely torture.

Oh, and also phoneticized “peasant” dialect. You know, for the scum common people.


And yet I read this volume all the way through, so there have to be some good things about it. I was mostly invested in a handful of secondary characters, honestly, and the prose style is readable (when not doing phoneticized dialect), and I was hoping that the spoilerific means of getting from place to place would have some interesting stuff attached to it.

I’m not sure this is grimdark proper, but I suspect that people with a higher tolerance for grimdark than I have would enjoy it more.

Please consider using our link to buy Providence of Fire at Amazon.

4 thoughts on “The Providence of Fire, by Brian Staveley

  1. The more I hear about this series, the more I think that it’s not right for me. Grimdark and torture and all that just isn’t my speed. (And I was willing to tolerate phoneticized dialect in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series because moles are adorable, but that’s basically my limit.) Are you reading any non-grimdark fantasy right now that you can recommend to your faithful followers?

    1. Fantasy, let’s see. Robert Jackson Bennett’s _City of Stairs_ was creepy but not grimdark. I just read the ARC of Marie Brennan’s _Voyage of the Basilisk_, coming out in March (so the review will be timed to be around the release), and I like that a lot. I’m looking forward to the next Max Gladstone and the new Ben Aaronovitch (which latter is sitting on my to-read pile), so if you haven’t caught up on those, they’re definitely worth a look. I would say that Jo Walton’s _The Just City_ is both fantasy and science fiction, although it is not wholly typical of either, so if you’re looking for center-of-the-genre fantasy, maybe not that. Oh, and I have Adrian Tchaikovsky’s last book in his giant fantasy series also on my pile, so I have hopes that that will be satisfying.

      1. Great suggestions–thank you! I’ve heard really good things about City of Stairs and Three Parts Dead, so they’re on my TBR. Marie Brennan’s A Memoir of Dragons is sitting on my desk right now, waiting for me to hurry up and have a little free time. (It’s been a rough wait, haha!) I haven’t read Ben Aaronovitch or Adrian Tchaikovsky yet, but their work sounds interesting, so I’ll definitely give them a try.

        1. Or I could have called it “Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons,” which would have been correct and not made me sound like a doofus. *sigh*

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