‘The Palace Job’ by Patrick Weekes (known for his work on Mass Effect) is a fun romp that tells the story of Loch on a quest for revenge, and with her she takes her best friend, an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess (who used to be a love priestess), a talking warhammer (who used to be a king), a cracker, a gymnast, and an unsuspecting lad with a certain birthmark. What could possibly go wrong?
Loch was jailed unfairly, and the Archvoyant killed her family, stole a priceless elven manuscript from the ruins, and as if that wasn’t enough, parades around as a caring and lovable creature, who adopted Loch’s younger, blind sister. Loch plans to steal it back, and if a few other things happen along the way, so be it. She manages to escape from a prison no one has ever escaped from before, and takes her faithful comrade in arms, who served beneath her during a stretch in the military, whilst surprising everyone by her actions, always managing to be a few steps ahead of everyone.
From there, as she collects the previously mentioned rag-tag team of many talents – basically because she doesn’t exactly have a plan, yet she figures that with those at her beck and call they’ll achieve anything – in return of uncountable riches for their trouble. She doesn’t plan on keeping the manuscript – she’s going to sell it back to the elves.
However, things don’t go as according to plan as she would have liked. There’s smatterings of love, zombies and betrayal, all woven elegantly in a fast paced romp that will have you reading this without pause as quickly as you can. Somehow, despite everything that happens, Weekes manages to end it seamlessly with no plot’s left uncompleted, and the reader wishing and hoping we’ll see more of these characters again soon.
The characters are varied, and easy to follow despite the cast being rather large. Novellas or other novels following them separately would probably work well, as each are interesting, and most carry humour and depth equally well.
This is quite like Ocean’s Eleven, but actually interesting; light-hearted and zany while still holding grit and concern for the characters lives. This takes the clichés of such tropes as ‘the Chosen One’ and adds a touch of freshness, along with slightly different magic systems to what we’re getting all too used to.
This review was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 5th November 2012.