Review: Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont

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Dancer’s Lament is the first novel in the Path to Ascendancy trilogy by Ian C. Esslemont.

Plot:

The walled city of Li Heng has been protected for years by the mysterious Protectress while the minor city states surrounding the city have warred with each other. It is strong, and secure, and protected by not just the powerful sorceress, but also by a cabal of five strong mages. But now there’s war looming, and chaos. And two young men are poised to take advantage of that chaos.

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Hell in a Handcart – Chapter five

Chapter five: A still tongue keeps a wise head

Soon they’d started a new project: making short videos about some of the institutions. The interns would go to a university, take pictures, shoot some film and interview some students, to get a quick look at the atmosphere.

This was something Mae had truly looked forward to. But even this didn’t go off without a hitch. The girls would be provided with cameras by the company, but Beastly suddenly decided otherwise. This meant that the interns had to ask their college for cameras; they had to borrow them at the last minute.

Their travel expenses also weren’t being covered completely, despite Beastly saying he would. It would take him a very long time to go through their receipts and even then, the numbers didn’t always match up. Mae was truly ready to explode, as was that burning pit in her stomach!

  “Can’t say I blame her,” Left-Angel murmured. Continue reading

Hell in a Handcart – Chapter four

Chapter four: Don’t trust someone further than you can throw them

The other girls also had their complaints and the interns found solace in their friendship. They often aired their complaints to each other and swore that they weren’t going to let him use them like that.

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But the other interns’ supervisors didn’t get notified until after Beastly refused to pay their salary for the month. He tried to make it sound like his “man” was out of the country on vacation, and he would get in touch with him as soon as he came back.

     “Yeah, sure,” Right-Devil said.

     “Can’t believe he thought they would take him on his word, after all he’s done,” Left-Angel added.

Well, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, that is true. And of course, the girls didn’t believe him for a second. They all emailed their supervisors that very same day.

After a bit of pressure from the supervisors, the money was in their accounts a few days later. Funny how he suddenly was able reach his man on vacation, right? Continue reading

Hell in a Handcart – Chapter three

Chapter three: Bad workers always blame their tools

The time came for their first progress meeting, where they would individually discuss the internship with Ivan Beastly and he would give them feedback. At this point, Mae was getting quite frustrated with his behaviour towards the interns. Sanne, Monique and Elyse had already had theirs and Mae was the last to go in.

     “It’s never fun to go last,” Left-Angel said.

No it isn’t. But Mae steeled herself and thought to give him a piece of her mind, professionally. But boy, she had no idea that would have been so hard. Continue reading

Hell in a Handcart – Chapter two

Chapter two: A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Mae shared her workspace, a meeting room with a gigantic table in the middle, with three other interns. They also came from the same university of applied science and had the same major. But they’d never met before.

     “How could they? With so many second-years?” the Right-Devil asked.

Indeed the college had many students (and still does) and it wasn’t a strange occurrence for people to start their first year at university with friends from High School, but be put in separate classes and never actually seeing each other again. Continue reading