You were threatened with squeeing. Fair warning.
I just finished Laika in Lisan, a fantasy(?) political thriller(?) about a mild-mannered(ish) scholar in a just-on-the-cusp-of-industrial-revolution world who gets sucked into an international conspiracy. It’s a story that sets up the machinery of a couple of fictional cultures, winds them up, and looks at the effects they have on the people who live in them. I love that sort of thing. LOVE it. And I rarely encounter it; I’m not sure whether it’s rare, I’m terrible at searching, or both.
Apart from being about non-magical people doing the best they can with the situation they’re in, it doesn’t have too much in common with the sort of stuff I write. (There’s a lot more plot and action in this book. This is a good thing.) But “non-magical people doing the best they can with the situation they’re in” is a sub-genre within fantasy that I wish I came across more, so this made me happy.
While this book fits reasonably well into “political intrigue” despite the lack of guns and running through airports (…I know nothing about thrillers, full disclosure), I still wish there were a neat genre label for fantasy stories that operate at the individual or national/cultural level. Not-epic, which is not sub-epic to me – because I refuse to believe that a story isn’t worth reading if the moon isn’t exploding or whatever.*
I know there’s a limited market for that sort of thing (…she said, totally un-bitterly), but there is a market! There are books I’d rather like to buy, if I knew where to find them.
Until then… here’s one such book. I enjoyed it. It ends on an ambiguous note and the sequel does not yet exist, but I will keep an eye out for more.
* Moon-exploding stories are fine. I spent a non-trivial chunk of my adolescence playing Final Fantasy games. But I like variety.