So let’s start by saying that I’m a fan of Lake. Mainspring and Escapement were genuine and original, and an enjoyable read to boot.
Green however is an out and out stinker of a novel. Such a stinker that I’m eschewing my usual unwillingness to blow the story wide open and just tell you all about it.
Green is the story of a young girl purchased by a trader to be raised as a concubine. But… as well as her training in the female arts she is also secretly taught self-defence and to be a kind of ninja of some sort. Apparently there is a plot afoot to have her slay the Duke for whom is is being trained in concubindery.
Now, this is a good solid core for a novel. A young girl, taken by a guru/wise-man out of poverty, and raised in the old and arcane ways. Hero-story the whole way. And it’s there that the story departs.
Basically, I think Lake should spent less time faffing about on Twitter, and more time concentrating on the story, because Green and the decent novel part ways very early in the piece, and are never really united.
And so it is that the young girl accidentally kills her nasty-but-lovable mistress in the art of cooking, kills the Duke almost by accident, and escapes to her home country, where she faffs around joining a temple and indulging in a world of $ and M (a theme Lake seems to really, really enjoy…). Then, mysteriously, she joins one of her former gurus, and is returned to the Duke’s city. The city has fallen into disrepair after the girl killed the Duke, and it needs her help.
The diversion to her home country is completely pointless and a waste of pages. The entire novel could have been set around the intrigue of having her get close enough to the Duke to kill him, but she manages it by just walking up to him and saying a magic spell… Then, blah fricking blah, girl-on-girl, whippings, killings, some random meetings between boring characters and FIN.