EE Ottoman

Books: Fantasy | Queer

A Matter of Disagreement (2018)

A Matter of Disagreement (2018)

A Matter of DisagreementI'm not quite sure how I feel about this book.

It's historical fantasy, set in a France like land, with some of the trappings of historical France and England, but there is also magic.

"The use of magic to animate. You see, it is commonly believed that only through combining spellcraft with machinery such as clockwork can we achieve true animation with things such as message birds, but I hope to show through a close reading of ancient texts—"

Andrea, Lord Ashcroft de Bourbon studies ancient literature and spell-craft. But the new mechanical spell-craft is taking all the air and research funds, which just aggravates Andrea, who is struggling to continue his studies.

The Marquis de la Marche is one of the darlings of the mechanical spellcraft set, and Andrea has been carrying on an argument with him over the importance of mechanical spell-craft.

Here's one thing that aggravated me–we get the merest of glimpses of magic and what it is capable of in this world.

The bird, which he had turned off and now lay quietly on the carriage seat next to him, was beautiful, really. Not the gaudy gilt and bejeweled things Andrea had seen at parties. Its outer body was made out of silver and wood, carved to look like a real bird with wings made out of hundreds of tiny silver feathers as well as a silver beak and silver feet. Its carved wooden body contained a complex network of tiny silver gears.

But that's essentially it. Aside from that one lovely description of a mechanical spelled bird, everything else is a discussion of books and history and astronomy. Neither the magic nor the science felt like true and integral parts of this story. The argument between Andrea and Gregory is really over money, rather than magical theory, and that's the heart of all their arguments, which is… very unmagical.

Secondly,the lack of relationship between the two stretches out for chapters and chapters and then almost suddenly it's over, and it wasn't ever particularly clear why it ended. Nothing big happened between the two, and it felt like events could have changed at any point in the preceding time.

Additionally, it isn't clear until much later in the book that gay relationships are fine in this world, which then left me confused as to why there was a problem with their relationship. It's lovely that society is accepting, but when we discover it is ok, it makes me doubt even more why the two were apart.

I suppose my problem is that the story had a lot of potential, but fell short in the execution.

Rating: 5.5/10