New rating system, based on the Ability to Distract While Flying:
1-star: consumed with thoughts of dying in a fiery crash
2-star: able to read a page or two at a time but pause to wish Captain Sully was in the cockpit.
3-star: able to read but distracted by the high-pitched voice of the child three rows in front of me and wishing for earplugs
4-star: only able to be interrupted by stewards bearing drinks
5-star: What? Where? Go away, I’m busy.
Brown River Queen is a five star–so amazingly fun that I was actually annoyed when we touched down–I only had 30 or so pages to finish, I really wanted to know the ending, and didn’t think my hostess would appreciate me forbidding her from talking while I read. It completely absorbed me during the puddle-jumper flight from Madison to New York. The roar of the engines (of course, seated in the back), people brushing by to use the restroom, the drying air–all faded away as I read. I was on a gambling steamboat on the Brown River, with Markhat, his assistant, his wife Darla and his vampire friend Evis.
Markhat is hired for an exorbitant fee to protect A Notable Personage during the inaugural trip of the first-ever steamboat down the Brown River. Unfortunately, Markhat seems to be the target of assassination himself, so its questionable how much he can protect anybody. He and Evis are desperate enough to seek help, but the unpredictable Corpsemaster is nowhere to be found. The little band might be on their own, with only Mama Hog and Buttercup the Banshee as backup.
I thought the story elements blended well; the feeling of looming threat, the actual danger scenes, the unsettled politics of the city as backdrop, the horror of the mysterious deaths. As always, I enjoyed the balance of tension and humor and rarely felt that it impacted the emotional import of a scene. Never fear, Tuttle is sure to provide a happy ending.
A note for those not sure of what order–this book follows events of the preceding The Broken Bell, so read in order for those afeared of spoilers.
So what are you waiting for?