The book sat on my NetGalley shelf as I finished other projects, but softly kept calling my name. Beckoning to me. (Yes, the spirit of a book calls to me…always has…a long story.) NetGalley, you can read my mind.
The Tainted Cup is a fantasy world filled with intrigue, fantastical upgrades, grafts and suffusions to a person’s body in the name of progress. Unfortunately, with progress also comes the constant feeling of fear, evil, and death. The story is told in first person by Signum Dinios Kol, assistant to the investigator and a Sublime.
Din has received suffusions and grafts beyond the normal suffusions offered to the populace. They render him able to remember all that he sees and hears with a sniff of a glass tube. Din is an Engraver. In the canton of Dartana, Din is sent to investigate the murder of an Engineer, Commander Taqtasa Blas.
This is a bizarre murder. So odd that it leads Din and his boss, Investigator Immunis Anagosa Dolabra or Ana, into a frenzied and dangerous mission to find out the identity of the killer.
The Tainted Cup was a quick read once I became familiar with the vernacular. The language slowed me down a bit at first, but then the adventure pulled me along. The writing was so emotive, that I felt like I was part of the story.
This murder was ingenious and I enjoyed how the various grafts and suffusions changed the course of interaction between characters, as well as, changing the characters themselves. The use of science/surgery/vaccines in creating Din’s world is a beautiful touch. After reading about murders by knife, gun or rope it was refreshing.
I enjoyed Din’s character. He was honest, kind and not afraid to be afraid. Fear didn’t stop him from performing his duties. He was an honorable Engraver. There is no getting around an Engraver. Engravers remember everything they witness, making them a useful tool to have when investigating a murder.
My favorite character, however, was Ana. Her sense of humor and straight talk made me very fond of her from the moment she was introduced. Ana was unique and had odd methods of deciphering the data that actually made sense. Ana was not afraid of anyone, and most were afraid of her. She was deadly, but fun.
I began to put myself into the story. What type of Sublime would I have chosen? Would I have chosen to be a Sublime at all? Yes! I would love to be an Engraver or an Investigator like Ana.
I am so happy that NetGalley suggested this title, and that it whispered to me from my shelf. The Tainted Cup was a book I didn’t realize I was missing, until I began reading. I can’t wait to read book two. Hurry, please!
If you enjoy this book review, please check these out.
- Her Dangerous Journey Home
- Emily Wilde’s Encyclopeadia of Faeries
- Nightfall In The Garden of Deep Time
- The Minister of Chance
Sue Cook lives in Freeport, Illinois with her husband Randy and two dogs. Her passions include assistance dogs, rescue dogs, music, acting, theater, poetry, and Doctor Who. She’s been in both film and theater and is a regular cast member of the podcast Doctor Who’s Line is it….Anyway? Sue is an advocate for the use of Service Dogs to assist their disabled handlers to maintain their independence. Quigley’s Quest, her first children’s book, addresses how a dog becomes a Service Dog.