I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Review: Valour and Vanity

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories #4)
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Historical Fantasy
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

Acclaimed fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal has enchanted many fans with her beloved novels featuring a Regency setting in which magic--known here as glamour--is real. In Valour and Vanity, master glamourists Jane and Vincent find themselves in the sort of a magical adventure that might result if Jane Austen wrote Ocean's Eleven.

After Melody's wedding, the Ellsworths and Vincents accompany the young couple on their tour of the continent. Jane and Vincent plan to separate from the party and travel to Murano to study with glassblowers there, but their ship is set upon by Barbary corsairs while en route. It is their good fortune that they are not enslaved, but they lose everything to the pirates and arrive in Murano destitute.

Jane and Vincent are helped by a kind local they meet en route, but Vincent is determined to become self-reliant and get their money back, and hatches a plan to do so. But when so many things are not what they seem, even the best laid plans conceal a few pitfalls. The ensuing adventure is a combination of the best parts of magical fantasy and heist novels, set against a glorious Regency backdrop.


Jane and Vincent have to be one of my favorite fictional couples EVER.  There's something about the two of them together that makes me all melty inside.  They are just perfect.  And in this book, their relationship takes a strain but that only makes them stronger.  It's wonderful!

The story has the premise of Jane Austen meets Ocean's Eleven.  The Regency romance aspect recedes into the background when the Vincents are taken advantage of by some unscrupulous thieves and they have to find a way to get back their money.  The story takes an unexpected darker turn when the Vincents are faced with poverty and hardship, and I have to say it was difficult to read through that section.  I thought it was also painful to see Vincent's pride take such a blow and how difficult it was for him to bear it.  But with Jane's help he was able to overcome his depression.  It was truly glorious to see how their hardship made them a closer and more loving couple.

With the darker turn the story took, it just made the 'heist' near the end even more satisfying.  It had all the ups and downs and suspenseful moments to make it a perfectly unputodownable read.  I really can not get enough of how varied this series is - and this installment was full of excitement and drama.  It's a fantastic continuation of Jane and Vincent's relationship, a thrilling adventure read, and completely satisfying.  So far, this is my favorite book in the series!

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