Smiler's Fair by Rebecca Levene
Published by Hodderscape
Paperback - 416 pages
Published 31st July 2014
Review copy from publisher
Part of the Hodderscape Review Project
In a nutshell
Levene doesn't pull any punches when crafting her world - the cultures are vibrant and distinct from one another, each with their own folklore histories, grudges and customs. There are no boilerplate fantasy races here - this is epic fantasy at its best.
Smiler's Fair doesn't hold back when it comes to being visceral, either. From the opening chapter, where the king's son is forcibly taken from his mother's womb (read the chapter in all its bloody glory), Levene gives us a gritty edge to the story that shows us just how dangerous the world can be for its inhabitants.
What didn't work
I really enjoyed Smiler's Fair - rich yet sprawling in its scope, yet intimate and visceral in its details. An absolute pleasure to read and a series I'm very much looking to keep up with.
Would I recommend it?
This book is a perfect blend of epic and 'gritty' fantasy, combining the best aspects of the two genres. A definite thumbs-up from me.