Orbit, p/b, 480pp, Â£7.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins
Thren Felhorn, Master of the Spider Guild, has been poisoned by a blade. He was careless not to have gone with his instincts and killed his foe. He tried to avoid war. Now, the time for dealing with it all head on has come. The Trifect wants blood. No more bribes. He will give them what they want.
Thren has raised his sons to be as ruthless, strong and skilled as he. But when one shows a weakness it is Aaronâ€™s turn to take shocking steps and become the thiefâ€™s heir. Young Aaron can never take back what he has done. His years of listening and learning have shaped him, and so will his latest deeds.
Kayla is not the best thief, nor the most skilled fighter. She is not the strongest, nor cleverest, nor the most proficient at anything, but perhaps there are some things more important than selling what she knows for the highest amount possible, and it wonâ€™t take much more than her encounter with Aaron to make her realise that.
A Dance of Cloaks is a pacy fantasy focused around thief guilds, double crossing, warring religions, and highly skilled warriors. Dalglish is skilled at writing fight scenes and portrays action in a frugal manner to deliver the necessary information and keep the story moving without sparing any time for detailed description or unnecessary padding. Violent content is handled well without sensationalism.
While the narrative moves at a fast pace, this book does frequently suffer from a roving point of view and as a result does not engage the reader as closely with the emotional content as a tighter viewpoint would; there is a slight level of separation between the immediate events being described and the reader experiencing them, which means a little impact is lost along the way.
Aside from that, anyone who enjoys action-driven fantasy in a gritty world where assassins, thieves and brutality are par for the course will enjoy this book. The story is far from predictable with some unexpected occurrences near to the end which set up book two to be a good continuation.