Shell Game by Benny Lawrence

The story is set in a world which has seen civil war for a long time. When Darren, a pirate queen, takes Lynn, a village girl from a remote fishing town, away on her ship, all seems set for a drama around the lowly slave and the mighty pirate queen


Published:

Reviewed by The Bookgeek

Although the fantasy genre was created to allow flights of imagination, it still has its conventions, you think, until you find such a mind-bending rollercoaster as Shell Game written by the ever-so-witty Canadian Benny Lawrence. When reading this entertaining and really well-written story, I was not sure what would await me when I turned the next page. Sometimes my eyes would bulge and all I could think was "OMG, OMG, what a brilliant turn" or I would burst out into laughter. My wife loves it when I laugh out loud while reading and it keeps me in her good graces, so brownie points for Lawrence for that!

 

So what gives? The story is set in a world which has seen civil war for a long time. When Darren, a pirate queen, takes Lynn, a village girl from a remote fishing town, away on her ship, all seems set for a drama around the lowly slave and the mighty pirate queen <yawn>. But tables are turned rather quickly in many unexpected ways. Not everyone is who they seem to be- in fact, is anyone who they seem to be?-and of course there is an entire world to save. There is adventure galore (including a meeting with the pirates ex-girlfriend) and all sorts of lovable and oh-so-not-lovable characters populate the novel.

 

Shell Game reminded me a lot of those wonderful screwball comedies and yes, it contains romance, heckling, humour, sword fights, and a  girl who gets the girl. The world building is detailed and excellent. The writing itself is hard to describe - it is refreshing, original (did I mention witty), all in a very good way, and reading it you come to realize that Lawrence is incredibly well-read and wields a mean quill.

 

In addition to all those adventures, Lawrence manages surreptitiously to address quite a lot of rather serious topics - e.g. bondage and the balance of power, domestic violence, the politics of civil war, and social structures. So, witty as this book may seem at first glance, the reader, if she so chooses, will find more in this treasure of a book then meets the eye. And it is a small wonder it was a runner-up in the category Lesbian Fantasy of the Rainbow Awards 2013. Would I read more of Lawrence? In a heart beat...in fact I sneaked around her website (http://www.bennylawrence.com) to find more amusing verbal jousting to fight my withdrawal symptoms! Highly recommended.

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