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C. P. Lesley

Bookworm, writer, radio host—I blog about history, fiction, and publishing in the Internet Age. You can find the full blog on my website. This space is for books.

Love in a Time of War

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas - Мастер Чэнь, Dmitry Chen, Liv Bliss

I can't say I love this book, although I wanted to. The translation is wonderfully fluid, the setting is interesting and unusual, the history seems sound. I can imagine that many people will enjoy it. But for me it has too many information dumps and too many explanations that seem to come out of thin air. I also found the main characters rather flat, despite obvious attempts to round them out. Still, I give the author credit for tackling a murder mystery/political thriller/family drama set in 8th-century Central Asia. How many people would have the nerve?

Fully realized scenes (that didn't include long political explanations) kept drawing me back into the story every time I was ready to give up. There just weren't enough of such scenes to make Pet Hawk a gripping read.


Five stars for the translation, three for the novel—hence the average of four for the whole.