skygiants: the aunts from Pushing Daisies reading and sipping wine on a couch (wine and books)
[personal profile] skygiants
A couple people had recced Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett's Point of Hopes to me before I finally picked it up -- it's a mystery novel set in a Netherlands-inspired approximately Renaissance fantasy world built around a heavily astrological culture and featuring many, many queer people, including:

Protagonist #1: Nicholas Rathe, the World's Most Honest Renaissance Policeman, who is slooooooowly investigating the disappearance of an increasing number of apprentice children in town
Protagonist #2: Philip Eslingen, an extremely dashing out-of-luck mercenary who loses his job in a missing-children-related riot and is then semi-recruited to semi-help with Rathe's investigation

This is one of those mystery fantasy novels where the worldbuilding is fantastic and interesting and thorough, and the mystery is kind of .... there as an excuse to hang the worldbuilding on, mostly; there's some Obviously Sinister culprits, and our hero spends three-quarters of the book sort of vaguely side-eying them before being like "aha, yes! these potentially sinister individuals definitely ARE sinister!" several chapters before the end. It is not a particularly satisfying mystery.

I think the relationship between Nicholas and Philip is supposed to carry the emotional weight of the series, but there's not a lot of it in this book; by the time it ends, they're .... friendly acquaintances? I'm not sure at this point whether I'm going to read the sequels -- like I said, I thought the worldbuilding was great and super interesting, but I'm not yet feeling a plot/emotional heft. People who've read the rest, thoughts?

Date: 2016-08-16 02:29 am (UTC)
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookblather

Ahem. I don't think it's the beeeest of Scott and Barnett's work, but I do kind of adore Point of Hopes a LOT, and I think the sequels are better. There's certainly a lot more exploration of Nico and Philip's relationship, especially in Point of Knives. I would look it up, definitely; Point of Knives is a novella so it won't take you quite so much time to read.

Also, if you're interested in Queer People Being Happy may I recommend Death By Silver by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold.

Date: 2016-08-16 02:38 am (UTC)
wakuchan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wakuchan
I'll second that I liked the sequels better! Point of Dreams was written first, but I liked how Point of Knives ended up fitting in between, plus it's relatively short, so I'd probably recommend reading it first.

(also seconding Death by Silver and its sequel, they are excellent, though not quite as dense on the worldbuilding as the Points books)

Date: 2016-08-16 01:38 pm (UTC)
graycardinal: Alexis Castle, smiling (Alexis (smiling))
From: [personal profile] graycardinal
Great lords of Flatbush, does that mean you've not encountered the wonder that is The Armor of Light?

That was my introduction to Scott & Barnett, and remains possibly the best alt-Elizabethan novel I've ever seen, complete with wizard-spies Kit Marlowe and Sir Philip Sidney. (If you don't believe me, ask Delia Sherman, Pamela Dean, the late David Hartwell, and hardcover-edition cover artist Margaret Organ-Kean, all of whom have reviewed/blurbed the novel at one time or another.)

FWIW, I also wanted to like Point of Hopes better than I did, if not perhaps for the same reasons, but it's been a very long time since I've read any of those books and they did not stick in my head the way Armor of Light has. (Also, it does not hurt my sense of recall that I am just back from a weekend of glorious theater including excellent Shakespeare, astonishingly good Dickens, and extremely silly but wonderful Gilbert & Sullivan.)
Edited Date: 2016-08-16 01:38 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-08-16 04:22 pm (UTC)
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
From: [personal profile] raven
YES. The two Mathey and Lynes are among my favourite comfort-reads.

Date: 2016-08-17 07:08 am (UTC)
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
From: [personal profile] happydork
Another strong rec for Death By Silver + sequel. I love those books.

Date: 2016-08-16 02:45 am (UTC)
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
From: [personal profile] rymenhild
Point of Dreams has a lot more Nico and Philip. I actually first read Hopes as a standalone, so when I found Dreams and saw that the back of the book mentioned they were a couple, I was startled. I had not seen that coming at all.

Date: 2016-08-16 08:18 am (UTC)
jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
From: [personal profile] jain
I mostly dislike Point of Hopes (unsatisfying mysteries are not my jam), but I really like the other books in the series. The worldbuilding remains awesome in them, and they're much better plotted and the various relationships better drawn. And yes, the relationship between Nicholas and Philip in particular gets a lot more compelling.

Date: 2016-08-16 11:28 am (UTC)
littlerhymes: the fox and the prince (Default)
From: [personal profile] littlerhymes
Yeah, I felt pretty much the same way...

I'm glad the sequels are getting such positive comments here! I uh had heard mixed things? I think you should read them and report back so I can make an informed decision. :D

Date: 2016-08-16 01:14 pm (UTC)
flemmings: (Default)
From: [personal profile] flemmings
I read Dreams first and was blown away. Hopes was a bit of a let-down after. But Dreams is still my go-to book for an immersive 'make the world go away' read.

Date: 2016-08-17 08:47 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
Nicolas and Philip are the slowest of slow burns, for real, but the world building is lovely in those books.

Can I give an umpteenth rec for the Death by Silver books? They're great, kind of Victorian era Harry Potter-esque organised magic system mysteries. With m/m sexy times with two great characters. Lots of fun. I hope we get a third in the series.

Date: 2016-08-17 08:26 pm (UTC)
jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
From: [personal profile] jain
I don't know whether there are plans for another full-length Lynes and Mathey book, but Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold are currently working on a novella in the series. See Scott's post on her recent publications and works in progress for more details.

Date: 2016-08-18 02:39 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
Yay!! Looking forward to it.


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