A stand-alone fantasy book.

Publication year: 2012
Format: ebook
Page count: 229 in .pdf
Publisher: Tyche Books Ltd.

Loch and Kail are soldiers of the Imperium but they’ve been caught and are in the Republic’s maximum security prison. The prisoners work on the underside of the floating city of Heaven’s Spire where they have to keep the magical lapiscaela in working order. The place is almost impossible to escape from except by falling into you death. However, Loch and Kail have a plan and Loch has to get away from the prison because she has bigger things to do. The pair escape but of course they become the most wanted villains in the Republic and the prison warden, Orris, becomes their implacable enemy. Justiciar Pyvic is sent after them, too.

While Loch has been in prison, a high-ranking Imperial officer has taken her family’s property and Loch wants them back. In order to do so, she has to break into the most heavily guarded areas of Heaven’s Spire. They are guarded by magic as well as people.

The Place Job is a heist story with an engaging cast. Loch herself is a very moral soldier; she repeats ”Fight the enemy, not their people” and expects others to follow that saying, too. She’s confident and very intelligent and at least one step ahead of her enemies. Oh, and she’s a black woman. Kail is her most trusted friend who will go through fire for her. He’s also more a rogue than a fighter and his favorite tactic is to insult the enemy’s mother until the enemy looses their cool and attacks him. Together Kail and Loch gather a group of people to help them. Loch knows some of them already.

Ululenia is a shapeshifting nature spirit. She’s in it for the money because with the money she can buy land away from greedy humans. She’s very attracted to virgins and her natural form is a unicorn. She’s not really a combatant and instead uses mind control.

Icy Fist is an acrobat and a martial arts expert. He’s sworn an oath not to hurt living beings. He’s an Imperial by birth and is very courteous towards the local, Republic’s, people. He usually works with Tern who is an expert lockpicker and tinker. She’s also an actor and skilled in con jobs.

Loch is looking for an old and reliable magic user she knows. Unfortunately, he has died so instead Loch has to settle for Hessler who has just been thrown out of the university. Then he was accused of cheating at cards and promptly thrown into jail. A young and naive man tried to defend Hessler and ended up in chains next to him. Hessler doesn’t want to leave the boy so Loch agrees to take in Dairy as well. That’s the boy’s nickname. Hessler’s expertise are illusions and magical objects.

Last but possible the most interesting person in the group is Desidora, a death priestess who has an interesting history. She’s working on magic defenses along with Hessler. She also has a talking, ancient warhammer Ghylspwr which can do a lot of damage. Ghylspwer talks in a made-up language.

On the other side of the legal fence is the hard-working ex-solder Pyvic who is doing is best to get the prisoners so that he can get on with the important work. However, politics gets into his way. The former warden Orris is assigned to Pyvic because Orris needs a chance to clear his name. Unfortunately for Pyvic, Orris doesn’t know anything at all about catching criminals. Of course, the story has also a mystery villain who is behind it all and has lots of political power.

All of these people have personalities and they all have their moment to shine, so the book doesn’t feel too crowded.

I was a bit surprised by how much I liked this book. I love Ocean’s eleven and the TV series Hustle but I haven’t read many heist stories so I was a bit skeptical about how well it could work. This one worked really well and I enjoyed it throughly. In fact, I wouldn’t mind reading more about Loch and her friends. (The other heist story I remember reading was Sanderson’s Mistborn which I also loved. Hmm. Any recommendations of other heist books?)

The world is a bit different from usual fantasy worlds. For one thing, the Republic is really a republic with people voted into office. It requires some way to tell people about what’s happening and here they use a puppet show! I loved that! The Republic has a two-party system, the Skilled and the Learned, who are constantly at odds with each other. The magic system isn’t really explained but I didn’t mind that. It felt more like technology than magic, to me.

The narration doesn’t tone down the danger but it’s not really gory or gritty (thankfully). In fact, the book has a lot of humor.