Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett

I found The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett, sequel to The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, nearly as enjoyable as its predecessor.

In this book, all three of the main characters experience a change in status. Mr. Quent is granted a title, raising Ivy's social status and expanding her sphere of influence. She is soon befriended by an extremely fashionable and influential woman, and readers may find themselves wondering if the lady has a secret motive. Rafferdy begins attending the Assembly of Magnates since his father's health no longer permits him to do so, and finds it indescribably dull. He does meet a group of young lords who are, like himself, magicians. Willing or not, Rafferdy is gaining power in both the political and magical spheres. Eldyn finds himself leading a double life -- clerking for the Church by day, while working illusions in the Theatre of the Moon by night. He's determined to earn enough money for his sister's dowry, and for his own fee to enter the church as a priest, and the pay he earns at the theatre makes this possible (for reference, in the eyes of the Church this is a bit like a woman taking up prostitution in order to earn enough money to enter a convent). Each of the three characters is ignorant of a few key details of their situation, and though they rarely meet over the course of the novel, the three storylines converge at the end of the book.

Each of the three main characters managed to do things that I found extremely stupid over the course of the book, though it all worked out in the end. While the first book made several direct references to classic literature, I found less of those in this story, though of course the setting still evokes those works. There were a few stylistic quirks that grated -- for instance, multiple occurrences of the phrase "a grin split his beard" drove me up the wall, as the mental image that phrase conjures up in me is certainly not what the author had in mind. All in all, though, I really enjoyed this novel, and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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