Diplomacy of Wolves
by Holly Lisle
Diplomacy of Wolves is good. Quite enjoyable. It does have some rather… unpleasant bits, but that’s part of why the book works. (I am not done with it yet, but nearing the end of the book.) It has characters that are all believable as real people. There are characters who would normally be considered “bad guys,” but they’re written in shades of gray, and so the reader feels some sympathy for them. Even the ones that are (so far) the most depraved have hints at what they could have been, under different circumstances.
The plot, as well, is good. I don’t think it’s my favorite of Holly’s, but as she is one of my favorite authors that would be hard to do. It does have multiple layers of complexity, and it’s a good thing that I know this is the first of a trilogy, because otherwise there is no way I could see her tying everything up to my satisfaction in the amount of book space I have left.
This is definitely a fantasy, set in another world. There is magic, but its use has been forbidden. There are shapeshifters, but they are under a curse (set by magic) and to let their nature be known is to invite death. And there is political intrigue, and prophecy, and (probable) possession, and many other things that I only guess at. It is a very well written book. From Holly, I expect no less.