Up the Throne by Toby Frost

The Girl with the Two Facial Scars. Wronged and cut by a powerful mobster several years before, Giulia travels back to her homeland bent on revenge. To Astrago, a Renaissance-era city infused with aspects of steampunk and magic. Cog-filled contraptions touched with spells. Airships shrinking the distances between political alliances. Power struggles toppled by poison and crossbow bolts.

Giulia quickly reconnects with allies, and discovers a few new friends. She plots her actions, using her dagger to cut up the ladder of influence towards the head, the man ultimately responsible for those scars. Frost creates a well-drawn character whose calculations are fun to follow. He is excellent in his descriptions of her fighting style and investigative skills. The winding path to her objective is filled with good old-fashion anticipation.

My only criticism of the book is that at times the political turmoil is not as connected to the actions of the protagonist it could be. These two threads are both absorbing, and when they meet, propel the story forward quickly.

Overall, an admirable character in a riveting world of intrigue and a plot that has enough twists to keep the pages turning. This is first book in this setting and I anticipate good things for Frost’s next installments.

4 out of 5 stars

Thank you to the author for a copy for review in exchange for an honest review.

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