In Wicked Bronze Ambition, Garret’s matrimonial plans are derailed by his in-laws. They need his help to uncover the “Operators” of a secret tournament that pits the children of the sorcerer families of TunFaire against each other in mortal combat. The prize is the accumulated power of the kids who were killed during the game, but no one wants to play. (Unfortunately, there is no way to opt out of the game once the Operators decide you’re going to be a contestant.) Garret’s job is to keep the game from being initiated, but it might already be too late.
While I liked the book, I had a few problems with the general set up and plot, spoilery reasons to be specific. (That is to say, you are probably going to want to skip the next paragraph or so.)
In Gilded Latten Bones we had a sudden change in romantic prospects for our protagonist. This was more or less a good thing since Garret’s previous relationship was an epic mess that only a hardboiled gent like Garret could manage to get stuck in the middle of. The first problem is that there is a little more tell than show for this relationship, which is fairly new after the whiplash that is the end of Garret’s relationship with Tinnie Tate. The second problem is that Garret’s new fiancé ends up in the refrigerator. The third problem is a couple of mysterious characters that turn out to be visiting from an anime. (I solemnly swear that I am not making this up. There is a goth loli girl and a not very bright moe girl and a side plot out of Natsume Yuujinchou. I was extremely displeased by this. Garret is not a character designed to deal very well with a Natsume type plot.)
Aside from these issues, the pacing is fast and the storyline held my attention. I would have liked more emphasis on the relationship between Strafa and Garret, which would have given Garret’s dazed grief-reaction more weight. (If you’re going to try to make the reader cry you have to actually break their hearts.) I was slightly confused by the endgame of this story but I am tentatively looking forward to seeing if Strafa will be pulling off a Jean Grey.