Let’s begin with the style, a Melodrama of Manners, which did not impress me. It can be a little stilted and very, very boring. If you can pass the stiff renditions of lace and silk then you are in for a treat. Yes, Ms. Kushner’s stilted style takes away from her magnificently wrought characters, which in my opinion were the backbone of the novel.

Now, don’t take me wrong, I didn’t hate the novel, I just disliked reading about things that ultimately did not lend absolutely any value to the plot or to the characters motives, like lace and snow. It seems to me that she lacked a good editor. An editor would have told her that a page dedicated to the clothing choices of a minor character would bore the reader to tears. I wished I could have read more about the relationship between Alec, the scholar with the sharp tongue and suicidal attitude and Richard, the swordman carrying a huge burden of guilt, or about Alec and his family or about the Duchess and the Dragon Chancellor. Also, the intimate scenes between the characters felt lacking, but this could be a publisher’s reluctance over same gender sex scenes. It just felt odd to have two deeply in love characters that did not seem all that thrilled with their sex lives nor derive any joy from it.

The novel would have been far more approachable if instead of writing about the manners she focused more on the characters and moved the plot along a little faster. The city to which she lovely refers in the afterword did not seem memorable at all, a hill with rich houses and a slum of decrepit old manors separated by a river. I find it hard to believe that so many words were used yet very little impression was made, and the politics drama plot was dragged out far too long. It was also incredibly disappointing, nothing more than the jealous ex lover of a manipulating widow and how the widow swirls her lace handkerchief around to get the men back in line. I remember telling my friend Mike, “It feels at times like reading Jane Austen without the witty dialogue and all the pettiness.”

Swordspoint is definitely an acquired taste, like Foie Gras or Oysters. Some people may find it sublime, others revolting.

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Economics Student by day, classical singer by night. My hobbies are: painting, drawing, gardening, embroidery, photography, and learning how to play the piano.