The Rabid Readers Review ‘The Interspecies Poker Tournament’ by Claire Buss
The Interspecies Poker Tournament gives us another madly inconsequential Roshaven story.
Ned Spinks has a new case, but his sidekick Jenni isn’t necessarily playing on his team Claire Buss is a mistress of humour, but she doesn’t make the mistake of offering us unadulterated cheer and there are moments of real pathos which ensure that the story pulls you in and takes you along on a crazy road trip.
The wonderful thing about this book is the ensemble, the gingerbread men, the odd octopus, Roshaven itself.
I was sorry to find myself less in love with Jenni and Ned this time, but it’s still an unhesitatingly five stars.
A serial killer is on the loose in and around Rosehaven. Pixies, mermaids and gingerbread men are amongst the victims and the only clue is the presence of a strange silvery substance on the body of each victim. As the body count of fae beings rises, Ned and Jenni have to unravel the mystery – well Ned does, Jenni sort of already knows…
What I really enjoyed.
The setting and worldbuilding. I love Roshaven and the way the descriptions offered by the author made it easy to immerse into the world once more.
The character cameos. The minor characters are a true delight. From a snarky harpy to an octopus with an obsession for filing and sentient gingerbread men who have to avoid damp. The character interactions and the banter make great platforms for ongoing humour.
The concepts. There are many wonderful ideas like filled with humour and delight. I will mention but one example to avoid spoilage. Imagine opening your office door and discovering it has become a magical aquarium…
The humour. The author is fast becoming a true master of the art of comedic writing. This is not a laugh out loud book, though one or two moments came close for me, but it is one that will make you smile and giggle inwardly on just about every page. Like the very best comedy, it has moments that are very unfunny too, with pathos and even horror grounding the reader so the next exalting leap into humour is even more hilarious by contrast.
What I struggled with.
Jenni. It’s only a niggle, but Jenni is now the most powerful magical being in Roshaven. Too powerful, in my opinion, to allow the story to have jeopardy. She has a spell to solve every problem and everyone does what she tells them. Even Ned only goes so far as to feel ‘snippy’ at her when she consistently and persistently withholds vital information from him about their case. She is no longer Ned’s sidekick in fact, he might just be lucky to consider himself as hers. I loved the dynamic of the relationship they had in The Rose Thief and felt that was missing from this story.
If you loved The Rose Thief as much as I did you will really enjoy the continuing crazy comedy that is The Interspecies Poker Tournament. If you’ve not read The Rose Thief, I’d thoroughly recommend grabbing it now and then following up with this book as a delightful dessert!