#SPFBO Review : Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire #1) by Angela Boord

Fortune's FoolFortune’s Fool is my sixth (or seventh if you include my own entry) finalist that I’ve read for the second stage of the SPFBO competition leaving me with three books to be read and reviewed by the end of the month.  It’s going to go to the wire I think.

Fortune’s Fool is a pseudo-Italian/historic story of warring families and revenge.  At the heart of the story are two characters, plenty of misfortune, meddling gods and many secrets and the plot jumps back and forth over a dual timeline that gradually provides us with sufficient history to piece together what’s really going on. The TL:DR version of this review is this is an impressive book.  It’s well written, the central characters are  well drawn and the world building is excellent.  On top of that Boord is a persuasive writer.  Her prose is very easy to read and in fact the writing is so good that I barely noticed that this was such a hefty chunkster of a book. I did have a couple of little issues but seriously, this is a very good read.

Fortune’s Fool is a very character led story. As the story begins we meet Kyris di Nada.  A mercenary with a reputation and a metal arm.  Kyris is a woman disguised as a man.  She’s searching for someone and asking many questions that will eventually draw the wrong sort of attention and a job that will give her a chance at revenge.  Now we jump back in time and meet Kyrra dAliente. Born into privilege she is the only child of a wealthy House who provide the best silk of the region.  Unfortunately Kyrra falls foul of a plot upon her family and their estate.  Young and headstrong, Kyrra is a little prone to rush in and think little of the consequences and that, coupled with her naivety lead her into a shocking situation with terrible repercussions that lead to the downfall of her family and the loss of her name.  This is a time when a stranger comes into Kyrra’s life, Arsenault.  Hired by her father for unknown purposes Arsenault seems to come and go, disappearing for long spells at a time but when he’s on the estate he starts to pay attention to Kyrra and the two start to develop a strong attachment.  Arsenault is a fascinating character with something of a sketchy memory – which I won’t elaborate on – but which does sometimes make you wonder if he’s totally reliable.

The world building is good and develops over the course of the story with intriguing politics and descriptions that pull you in with details of food and clothes together with different settings that really help to build up a feel for the place whether we’re on the Aliente estate, in a hunting lodge or milling round the streets and over packed market places of the towns and cities.

I always enjoy stories that involve a dual timeline and this is a particularly fine example.  The present shows us the gritty underworld that Kyris inhabits.  In fact the two different threads are surprisingly different in style and tone.  As is often the case I did find myself forming an attachment to one storyline more than the other and in this instance it was the past thread that really intrigued me.  In fact that leads me onto one of the first issues I had.  There is quite a divide between the past and present timelines and in the earlier chapters this can lead to some confusion about what’s taking place in the present, particularly with some of the conversations which can be a little befuddling.  All I can say is that you have to bear with this element as the gap between the two timelines lessens.

The other slight issues that I had related to the fact that the supporting characters are not as particularly well developed.  The real focus is on Kyrra and Arsenault and I’m not really grumbling about that but it did occur to me that the other characters were sometimes a little too easy to forget and I’m not entirely sure how convincing Kyris was in disguise as a man.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved that particular element to the story but it felt very easily skipped over sometimes.  But, little issues aside. I enjoyed this and would certainly like to read more from this world.  And, yes, I realise I haven’t given much time here to the gods and magic but they play a pivotal role and they’re an element of this world that I would love to know more about.

I would like to thank the author for providing a review copy.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 8.5 of 10 stars.

 

 

6 Responses to “#SPFBO Review : Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire #1) by Angela Boord”

  1. amjusticewrites

    This one is in my top 3 for this year’s competition. I loved it.

  2. sjhigbee

    A great review, Lynn. It sounds as if this was a quality read, with plenty going on. I, too, like a dual narrative, but it’s rare that I don’t prefer one plotline over the other. Thank you for sharing this one:)

  3. Tammy

    This sounds like a good one! I’m excited you’re almost done with this phase. I’m curious to see who the winner is😁

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I love the sound of “character led” story, so of the SPFBO finalists you’ve reviewed so far, this one’s definitely high on my interest list.

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Dual timelines never fail to attract my attention, and the overall story sound quite intriguing: knowing that we need to “keep faith” with this book and let it develop will be a great help once I decide to add to my TBR. Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

  6. waytoofantasy

    Glad to see this one getting high marks, I’ve heard good things about it elsewhere as well. Great review, Lynn! Hope you’re doing well.

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