Okay, weird confession time. I set out to share my review of The Courtesan’s Avenger by Kate M Colby—it just came out this year and it was a delight! Then it occurred to me that while I gave a short review of The Cogsmith’s Daughter on Goodreads, I didn’t do so here! So here you go, people. You deserve to know about this novel, so here’s the review—better late than never! Check out the review below and make sure to give your two cents in the comments section if you’ve already read the book, too!
Rating: 5 stars
It’s hard to be a courtesan when the top punishable crime in Desertera is adultery. It’s even harder when you’re not the most talented courtesan of The Rudder, Desertera’s local brothel. Aya could’ve lived the life of a cogsmith’s daughter but was instead orphaned and had no choice but to seek employment at The Rudder. So when she gets the chance to seek revenge on her father’s killer—the king—she hardly gives it a second thought. Her mission is to prove the king to be the biggest hypocrite in history to overthrow him by his own anti-adultery decree.
What I enjoyed:
You can tell by the 5-star rating that this book was very enjoyable. Colby’s debut novel is further proof that if you’re not reading indie or self-published novels, you’re seriously missing out.
To get specific, Colby’s world building is superb. Desertera is relatively easy to navigate and imagine thanks to her ability to describe the surroundings and the mysterious history behind how the people got there. The city basically surrounds a huge steamship that serves as the king’s castle, and all the directions and sections of the city are based off of nautical terms for directions (hence the brothel’s name, The Rudder). If you love steampunk and all its glory, you’ll love what she’s contributed to the genre with the steampunk technology incorporated throughout the novel.
The suspense was also satisfying. As a courtesan/prostitute, Aya’s life doesn’t mean much to the rest of the characters, so her attempts to seduce the king to expose his treasonous acts could lead to her demise if she missteps. It’s frustrating that as a round, complex character, she still lives in a world where she is paid and scorned for her line of work; even as a witness of a crime, she knows that not many people will believe the word’s of a strumpet, nor care if she succeeds.
My Final Thoughts
Kate M Colby’s debut novel is worth reading and rereading. Do yourself a favor and read this novel so you can immediately enjoy her sequel, The Courtesan’s Avenger and anticipate whatever Colby presents next in her Desertera series.
Just as a note of warning, sex and intimacy are discussed and described (off-screen) frankly and often—as you might expect from a novel focused on a courtesan. However, I found it tastefully done to give background to the gravity of Aya’s mission, rather than gratifying garnish. Overall, you might merely blush at Aya’s frankness and openness about her source of employment.
If you’d like to learn more about Kate M Colby and her work, you can catch up with her via social media:
Have you read this novel? Do you have your own thoughts about it? Share with me in the comments!