Trial of Flowers: Leaves sophisticated readers wanting more

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review Jay Lake Trial of FlowersTrial of Flowers by Jay Lake

Despite having read two Jay Lake novels (Rocket Science and Mainspring), they didn’t prepare me for Trial of Flowers. This is an entirely different animal; Right from the outset you’re hit with stylistic language, a complex tapestry of characters and plot, and most importantly, a flat-out weirdness and originality that tends to be missing from most mainstream fantasy novels.

Lake juggles several characters, each with their own level of depravity, yet these are the characters you’re rooting for and sympathizing with. The setting — the City Imperishable — is quite distinct with its unconventionality: factions of boxed dwarfs, crossbow-wielding clown guards, and mysterious edicts such as the so-called Trial of Flowers. Each “chapter” (the book has no chapters but rather it is divided according to point of view) is a compelling page-turner that leaves sophisticated readers wanting more.

FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.

Trial of Flowers — (2006) Publisher: The City Imperishable’s secret master and heir to the long-vacant throne has vanished from a locked room, as politics have turned deadly in a bid to revive the city’s long-vanished empire. The city’s dwarfs, stunted from spending their childhoods in confining boxes, are restive. Bijaz the Dwarf, leader of the Sewn faction among the dwarfs, fights their persecution. Jason the Factor, friend and apprentice to the missing master, works to maintain stability in the absence of a guiding hand. Imago of Lockwood struggles to revive the office of Lord Mayor in a bid to turn the City Imperishable away from the path of destruction. These three must contend with one another as they race to resolve the threats to the city.

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CHARLES TAN, one of our guest reviewers, is the owner of the blogs Bibliophile Stalker and Comic Quest. He also edits Philippine Speculative Fiction. You can read his fiction in that publication and in The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories. Charles has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Comics Village.

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