* Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews

Palace of Treason is the sequel to Red Sparrow, which I skewered here a few weeks ago. You will not be surprised to hear that I did not love this tome either. And I’m afraid there will be another installment in the series since the heroine not only does not die in the book, despite multiple encounters with cold-blooded killers and an assortment of weapons, but returns to Russia, opening the way to more adventures, rather than safely defect to the West.

The story is nicely twisted and suspenseful, but the characters are once again heavily cliched. One of them is Vladimir Putin himself, so the reader can easily understand the necessity of portraying him as a megalomaniac, but everyone else seems hopelessly one-dimensional: either completely good or utterly evil, and carrying a heavy load from earlier experiences, from which they cannot separate themselves. It’s probably tolerable of you enjoy spy novels. I do not.


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