Dangerous Gifts by Gaie Sebold
Babylon Steel, former avatar of the goddess of sex and war, currently owner of the Scarlet Lantern, the best brothel on Scalentine, city of portals, has been offered a job; as bodyguard to Enthemmerlee, the latest candidate for the Council of Incandress; and as spy for the Diplomatic Section, the barely-acknowledged government of Scalentine. She doesn't want it. Incandress is on the verge of civil war. Enthemmerlee represents the hopes or fears of a large portion of its population and is a prime target for assassination. And on Scalentine racial tensions and economic stresses are boiling up, with Babylon's lover, Chief Bitternut, trying to keep the lid on. But circumstances conspire to send her to Incandress. There, what with attempting to turn Enthemmerlee's useless household guard into a disciplined fighting force, dodging the Moral Statutes, the unwilling presence of a very annoyed member of the Diplomatic Section and the need to keep both herself and her client alive, things become rather too interesting. And that's before Babylon realizes that the situation is far worse than she thought, and is driven to a choice that will have far-reaching consequences…
Early 2012 saw the release of Gaie Sebold’s debut novel Babylon Steel and new start of a series published by Solaris. By the synopsis and of course the cover (yes, I am a sucker for a good catchy art) I just had to read this book. Now I recently read Ack-Ack Macaque, which was released in January this year also by Solaris and I immediately had to think about Babylon. On the comparison they both are completely different books but they do share one strength in common and that is the uniqueness in their concepts and universe. Like I said in the Ack-Ack Macaque review Solaris has made a great deal with these books.
Babylon Steel, the first book in the series, revealed a more than rich universe where worlds/planes are connected to each other via portals. Different races likes weres (like werewolves), fey and lizards. Magic that is limited on each plane where it can be deadly on one, it can be just a small tingle on the other. Everything for the setting to the heroine Babylon, herself an ex-avatar of the Goddess Babaska produced a great debut and very enjoyable story. There was a nice ending towards it but due to a clever way of telling there story Gaie Sebold already introduced some interesting concepts to go on about.
What directly falls to notice in the start of Dangerous Gifts is the way Babylon is shown. It is quite different from the first book where you actually followed two storylines, one of Babylon’s past where you glimpse her in her avatar life and the other in her current life as ex-many other things. Now the sole focus is on her story in the present and again it is with problems. In the beginning of the book you see how Babylon is dealing with running the Scarlet Lantern and everything that comes looking around the corner. Later, you see the follow-up of the first book taking in its place. Babylon is somewhat forced in accepting a job so that she can again get out of a debt. By accepting this job you finally have the long awaited travel between planes! Yes! this was really something I was looking forwards to. Is was good to see what this universe had to offer. Describing this passage and everything leading up to it was very neat.
Babylon’s character was just stunning to read about, she has a great character personality. On one level she is just normal with not really wanting to be related with her avatar past. And perhaps by this she has become quite the a badass in not taking no for an answer and trying to always get her way but also trying to relate and see the goodness in other peoples. This was shown in a great manner with the Fey Laney, who is terrible with money. She does see reason in what Laney’s short comings are and although she might be pissed off by this, she does the sensible thing. And even more, with her parting her crew and taking the job solo, she has to become dependent on other people and this again was shown in a great way, adding more and more sense to Babylon’s character. Gaie Sebold does a terrific job with putting down Babylon herself.
However on all the promises that Babylon Steel had to offer for me Dangerous Gifts did not really had the same catchiness as the first book in the series. This is not meant to be a negative point, but there was a large change in the way the book was built up and how the narration was done. The sole focus is on a new planet and that was pretty interesting but it just felt that the pacing of this book was somewhat off. It has many great ideas but in the executing it did feel a bit out of place with the connection. Having some more obvious ideas that you could guess a bit too easily to happen and I missed a good reason of why Babylon did it in the first place. It was that she had to do it by the things that Laney did while Babylon explicitly said no and this felt a bit too easy to set everything in motion. A second small notion is about the persons you meet in the new world of Icandress. They did not feel out of place but after the first book where you got to meet the “misfit” crew of Babylon with Previous, Flower the Orc, Laney the Fey , the twins and Hargur I could not really relate to the characters on Icandress though Enthemmerlee was great and she is shown in a struggle for her self having become something quite different. I just missed a bit magic spark of the first book.
This last part does not take away that Dangerous Gift is again a fine story to read. Yes it missed for me some of the magic that was overflowing in the first book. Dangerous Gifts does deliver an interesting story in Babylon’s world and in the end I really like the intervention of Babaska, the goddess of who Babylon was an avatar. You cannot guess what she wants of Babylon, another great addition Morlock who on one hand further obscures the magic present in the universe and on the other reveals of what is possible. Dangerous Gifts shows a unique universe and slowly you get to learn more and more, and now with some interesting ending and Babylon back on Scalentine who knows what problems Babylon will be facing next time?
This Dangerous Gifts book review was written by Jasper de Joode
All reviews for: A Babylon Steel Novel
A Babylon Steel Novel #1
Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex-other things, runs the best brothel in Scalentine; city of many portals, two moons, and a wide variety of races, were-creatures, and re...
A Babylon Steel Novel #2
Babylon Steel, former avatar of the goddess of sex and war, currently owner of the Scarlet Lantern, the best brothel on Scalentine, city of portals, has been offered a job;...
Have you read Dangerous Gifts?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Dangerous Gifts reader reviews
8.6/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Dark Tower series
Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey into good and evil, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our ow...
Aden awakens naked in a bath tub, knowing only that he is dead. His new world is Nightfall, a place filled with characters bizarre, grotesque and magical: Julius the duke, ...
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever
He called himself Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in the strange alternative world on which he suddenly found himself - the Land. But the Land...
City of Stairs
Robert Jackson Bennett
You've got to be careful when you're chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all wor...
WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11/22/63, the date that Kennedy...
Take a trip in a stranger's head. Travel rain-shot streets with a gang of hip malcontents, hooked on the most powerful drug you can imagine. Yet Vurt feathers are not f...
The Four Realms
Half-vampire Darwin stumbles across a corpse on the streets of London, and in a pocket discovers a notebook in a mysterious language. Divided between human ethics and vampi...
Weaveworld is an epic adventure of the imagination. It begins with a carpet in which a world of rapture and enchantment is hiding; a world which comes to life, alerting the...
The Portable Door
Starting a new job is always stressful, but when Paul Carpenter arrives at the office of J.W. Wells he has no idea what trouble lies in store. Because he is about to discov...
The Silent Land
A young couple are caught in an avalanche during a ski-ing holiday in the French Alps. They struggle back to the village and find it deserted. As the days go by they wait f...
The Lazarus Gate
Mark A Latham
London, 1890. Captain John Hardwick, an embittered army veteran and opium addict, is released from captivity in Burma and returns home, only to be recruited by a mysterious...
Between Two Thorns
Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath's secret mirror city. The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, i...
A serial killer is on the loose in Ostend, Belgium. Nicknamed The Stuffer, the mysterious killer fills his victims full of sand and poses them as public art installations -...
The Chronicles of Amber
Amber is one real world, casting infinite reflections of itself - shadow worlds, which can be manipulated by those of royal Amberite blood. But the royal family is torn apa...
The Man Who Crossed Worlds
All freelance Tunneler Miles Franco wants is a bit of freedom and a couple of bucks to rub together. So when the cops haul him downtown for illegally smuggling the natives ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through......
Paternus: Rise of Gods
Even myths have legends. And not all legends are myth. When a local hospital is attacked by strange and frightening men, Fiona Patterson and Zeke Prisco save a catatonic old m...
It is for the entities known as Sleepwalkers to cross the doors between dreams, and hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. Theirs is a world of impossible vistas, wher...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own. New alliances and old feuds will remake the natio...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...