Book - 2017
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A double-agent sacrifices all his ideals in order to save his smuggler lover before a government coup takes over their decadent city in Lara Elena Donnelly's glam spy thriller debut, now a Nebula finalist for Best Novel!

"Exploring the roots of hatred, nationalism, and fascism, while at the same time celebrating the diversity, love, romance, fashion, and joy the world is capable of producing." --Bookriot

In Amberlough, amidst rising political tensions, three lives become intertwined with the fate of the city itself.

The Smuggler: By day, Aristide Makricosta is the emcee for Amberlough City's top nightclub. By night, he moves drugs and refugees under the noses of crooked cops.

The Spy: Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he's good at keeping secrets, but after a disastrous mission abroad, he makes a dangerous choice to protect himself...and hopefully Aristide too.

The Dancer: Streetwise Cordelia Lehane, burlesque performer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide's runner, could be the key to Cyril's plans--if she can be trusted.

As the twinkling marquees lights yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means -- and people -- necessary. Including each other.

"James Bond by way of Oscar Wilde." --Holly Black

"Sparkling with slang, full of riotous characters, and dripping with intrigue, Amberlough is a dazzling romp through a tumultuous, ravishing world." --Robert Jackson Bennett, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and the Edgar Award

"Astonishing first novel!" --World Fantasy Award-winning author Ellen Kushner

Publisher: New York : Tor, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780765383815
Branch Call Number: FIC DONNE
Characteristics: 397 pages : map ; 22 cm


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samcmar May 21, 2017

Amberlough was a book I randomly grabbed while I was at this year's OLA Conference. I didn't know much about it, but I found the cover very striking. Cabaret? Spies? Fantasy? LGBT? All checkmarks for things that I love to read about.

What I loved about this book was the world that Donnelly has created. It's got a seediness to it, something that feels so colourful yet vibrant. I really loved the characters, especially Cordelia who is an absolute boss. I also loved Cyril and Ari, and I thought they were such a delightful couple. The characters are just a lot of fun, and they have just enough depth given that this story is more about solving a mystery and dealing with an uncomfortable political atmosphere.

Spy fiction often doesn't get it's due in fantasy, but I love the way in which this book meshes both genres together. This book has both glitter and glamour, but it also has so much discomfort when you start to learn about what the One State Party is after. I felt like the world of Amberlough in itself was a character in the story as well! The world building just really stuck with me as the story progressed, and I knew I was easily along for the ride.

If I have any complaints about this story, it's really that I just didn't want it to end. I was just so completely glued to what I was reading, and I loved following these characters through this vibrant world. This is just a wonderfully impressive first novel, and if you love fantasy that has a very political spin, or you love the glitz of cabaret like I do, then Amberlough is worth your attention.

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