Sunday Soupçons #12

Posted 29th May 2022 by Sia in Fantasy Reviews, Queer Lit, Reviews, Sunday Soupçons / 2 Comments

soupçon/ˈsuːpsɒn,ˈsuːpsɒ̃/ noun
1. a very small quantity of something; a slight trace, as of a particular taste or flavor

Sunday Soupçons is where I scribble mini-reviews for books I don’t have the brainspace/eloquence/smarts to write about in depth – or if I just don’t have anything interesting to say beyond I LIKED IT AND YOU SHOULD READ IT TOO!

Just one quick one this week!

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Neurodivergent bisexual MC, brown gay MC, post-addiction MC, M/M

In this lush, magical, queer, and feminist take on Hamlet in modern-day New York City, a neuro-atypical physicist, along with his best friend Horatio and artist ex-fiancé Lia, are caught up in the otherworldly events surrounding the death of his father.

Meet Ben Dane: brilliant, devastating, devoted, honest to a fault (truly, a fault). His Broadway theatre baron father is dead—but by purpose or accident? The question rips him apart.

Unable to face alone his mother’s ghastly remarriage to his uncle, Ben turns to his dearest friend, Horatio Patel, whom he hasn’t seen since their relationship changed forever from platonic to something…other. Loyal to a fault (truly, a fault), Horatio is on the first flight to NYC when he finds himself next to a sly tailor who portends inevitable disaster. And who seems ominously like an architect of mayhem himself.

Meanwhile, Ben’s ex-fiancé Lia, sundered her from her loved ones thanks to her addiction recovery and torn from her art, has been drawn into the fold of three florists from New Orleans—seemingly ageless sisters who teach her the language of flowers, and whose magical bouquets hold both curses and cures. For a price.

On one explosive night these kinetic forces will collide, and the only possible outcome is death. But in the masterful hands of Lyndsay Faye, the story we all know has abundant surprises in store. Impish, captivating, and achingly romantic, this is Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before.

The first time I tried to read The King of Infinite Space, I DNF-ed it, and I picked it up again hoping for something that would put my brain to sleep before bed. This time though, I was hooked almost instantly and devoured the whole book in a bit under 24 hours – I didn’t want to put it down and VEHEMENTLY resented anything that made me!

Faye’s prose is fast and glorious, but it’s neck-and-neck with the cast for my favourite aspect of the book. Ben, Horatio and Lia are all amazing characters, and I’m so glad Faye decided to give them all turns in the spotlight, switching back and forth between their three PoVs – Ben in particular made me laugh a lot, and I highlighted a whole bunch of his lines as Simply Epic. I’ve never read Hamlet or seen it performed, but that didn’t seem to be a loss; if anything, you’d be better served by being at least passingly familiar with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and/or The Scottish Play, since Robin Goodfellow and the Three Sisters both show up in important roles (and very much reimagined from their previous incarnations).

The fantasy elements were pretty minimal until right up near the end, but I had no problem with that: there was so much drama, so many complex characters and character dynamics to go over with a microscope, so much wow-factor, that I’m pretty sure I would have had almost as much fun if this had been pure contemporary-fic.

I did have to knock half a star off my rating because I wasn’t happy with the ending – it seemed so unnecessary, and is the kind of happy ending that really isn’t – but with that qualifier, I’d still recommend it for anybody looking for complicated characters, a whirlwind plot, and lots of yummy, philosophy-and-physics introspection!

What have you been reading this week?


2 responses to “Sunday Soupçons #12

    • Sia

      I remember talking about it with you! But apparently when you’re in the right headspace it’s a lot of fun. Or at least it was for me 😀

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.