The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky – A Book Review

The Seventh Perfection

Blurb:

When a woman with perfect memory sets out to solve a riddle, the threads she tugs on could bring a whole city crashing down. The God-King who made her is at risk, and his other servants will do anything to stop her.

To become the God-King’s Amanuensis, Manet had to master all seven perfections, developing her body and mind to the peak of human performance. She remembers everything that has happened to her, in absolute clarity, a gift that will surely drive her mad. But before she goes, Manet must unravel a secret which threatens not only the carefully prepared myths of the God-King’s ascent, but her own identity and the nature of truth itself.

Author: Daniel Polansky

Publisher: Tordotcom

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 176

Release Date: 22/09/2020

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating of ‘The Seventh Perfection’: 2 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon, Audible

Review:

Having absolutely adored Polansky’s ‘The Builders’ I got incredibly excited to try more of his novella-length fiction. Sadly, for me at least, this just never threatened to hit the high points that The Builders achieved. 

The writing style in this one is very different to any other kind of book. It’s set out in chapters where each chapter is essentially a conversation with a different person. Except it never really feels like a conversation as you only see one side of it. We see the book through the POV of Manet and, despite her being the one that asks the questions, we never see/hear anything she asks. The characters react as though she has said something, though, so we are left to puzzle what she said by way of how they answer. I assume that, considering we are Manet, we don’t need to know what she said … because we said it? Therefor we should know?

I say each chapter is a conversation, and it is. The entire book is conducted pretty much through the medium of speech. However, the conversations start off as you’d expect. A question is answered … but before said question can be expanded upon, the character in question will go off on some rambling monologue about their past, the past of the city etc … This falls flat for me for two reasons: the first being, everyone does it. Literally everyone. If asked what colour the sky was, many of them would pontificate on the reason for the clouds hanging in the sky rather than give you a simple answer. My second reason is that they all have the exact same style of speech when going off into their ramblings. It makes it pretty hard to differentiate who is who as perhaps only one or two have a clear, distinguishable character.

We get pretty much zero world knowledge near the start, as it’s built up throughout the book via different rambling conversations. The annoying thing about this is that I never really find myself caring for the main character or what she’s trying to achieve. I just felt pretty detached from point A all the way up until point B at the end.

It’s not an entirely unenjoyable book. The writing and story being told are fairly good, you just need to cut through a lot of the rambling. I do feel that the story was a tad linear, though.

20 thoughts on “The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky – A Book Review

  1. Interesting… but, just as was the case with Bookstooge’s recent Czajkowski review, I already have the thing on the shelf, as it was highly recommended by Ola (10/10) 🙂 So, I’ll judge for myself one day…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually quite liked this, but it took a bit for it to grow on me. And I can definitely see disliking it. Also this is a little embarrassing but… marmite is what now? I’m mean, I googled it, but how’s this a thing? I sounds… um

    Liked by 1 person

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