After reading stuff written by Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie, I’d started to notice Daniel Polansky’s Low Town book creeping into my fantasy recommendations list on Goodreads. The summary of the book seemed pretty interesting, too; an amoral, ruthless protagonist, an unforgiving place. Just my kind of book, I felt. And picked it up.

And did not put it down until I was a couple of hours late to bed each night, for the ten days it took me to finish the series. The protagonist, who is only ever called The Warden, is a drug dealer in Low Town; and not just any ordinary drug dealer, either; he is in fact notorious for being the machinery that runs Low Town. In his own words, he is the one that runs Low Town. He stays with Adolphus, his best friend and war-time buddy, and Adolphus’ wife Adeline at their bar, The Staggering Earl. From here, he makes regular runs to different parts of the town, selling his merchandise, bribing the town guards, the works.

The first book starts off with a series of child-killings in Low Town. The Warden gets embroiled into the matter by being the discoverer of one of the dead bodies. And goaded by Adolphus’ wife Adeline, he begins to carry out his own investigation into the matter. This is how the series starts off. Plot-wise, all the three books are independent enough to give the impression that they could be read in any order whatsoever. But these books are not really about the plot, as such. They are more about character development and the changing relationship dynamic between The Warden and others.

Though the series is labeled as fantasy, you won’t really find much sorcery in these books; you could say that only about 5% of the series would actually have sorcery in it. But whatever sorcery there is, is pretty badass. The series is one of those gritty, dark fantasies which have sort of become the norm these days. But the specialty of this series, is that it feels more like a detective-noir type book than anything else, with its drug dealers, unscrupulous guards, and a world which is in general an unfair place. And the dry, deadpan humor throughout is the best part.

Even if you are new to fantasy, you will most probably like the books if you are a fan of crime-mysteries. And for fantasy veterans, so to speak, Daniel Polansky will be a breath of fresh air, with his witty humor and gritty writing.

RATING : 9.2/10

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