There is few others like Michelle West.
House Name is lush, richly intricate, heartbreaking in its subtle dealings with Jay and her den. Jay is charismatic, deeply compelling, and her story kept me rooting for her even as I stood undecided as to whether she was courageous and daring or foolish and naive.
The story sucked me in and didn't spit me out until the very end. Jay's story is fascinating precisely because of her rise from the slums and poverty into one of the most prestigious positions. The narrative follows her rise, but also catalogues her concessions and her humanity as she does so. West has a brilliant hand in detail, in weaving in background to fuel the story without being clunky and boring, and in creating a luxuriously textured world that is at once familiar and strange.
Some say Michelle West has been propelled into the ranks of George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb -- I say that she's been there all along and it's about time she was noticed as such.
Re-Issued Review. Orignially Reviewed on: 3/16/2011. Now in paperback and hardback.
The brilliant new novel in The House War series.
The House War series centers on the most popular character in The Sun Sword series: a young woman named Jewel, who survives both the everyday perils of being an orphan in the slums of the city of Averalaan, and the demonic dangers of the Undercity, and who rises to become a key figure in House Terafin, the most important of the Ten Houses of the Essalieyan Empire. At the close of The Sun Sword series, the House War is about to begin. Now, at last, that story can be told.