When the most powerful man in the Republic murders her family, steals her family's valuable manuscript, and frames her for treason, former army scout Loch plans her revenge. The plan? Break out of jail, assemble a crack team of magical misfits, sneak into the floating fortress of Heaven's Spire, and steal the manuscript back. What could possibly go wrong?
The Palace Job is a very enjoyable high fantasy comic crime caper, and the first book in the Rogues of the Republic trilogy. The action-packed plot rattles along at a heady pace as the crew's best laid plans go quickly awry, and there were enough twists and turns and last minute disasters to keep me interested right until the end. The characters were a bunch of eccentric but lovable rogues, and the banter between them often left a grin on my face. However, The Palace Job is very much a book which exists in the moment and so there's little in the way of character development or back story. The relationships between the characters were relatively uncomplicated, and there wasn't much emotional depth to any of them.
The same could be said for the world building. The Palace Job is crammed full of imaginative ideas - airships, a floating capital city, all sorts of magical critters in the woods, a shape-shifting unicorn - but the world itself is left a bit of a blank. The rattling pace gives little time to explore any more than the most basic of this world's history, politics, and culture. I did like, however, that Patrick Weekes explored themes of racism with the minority ethnic characters having to deal with prejudice and suspicion.
At its heart, The Palace Job is a tongue-in-cheek action-packed crime caper set in a high fantasy world. It never takes itself too seriously, and what it lacks in depth it more than makes up for in exuberance and sheer fun.
Recommended For: People who like easy to read, fast-paced comic fantasy, or fantasy fans looking for a break from their recent angsty epic reading.
Read On: The next book in the series is The Prophecy Con. Other fun comic fantasies include Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher, and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett.