I just finished reading Kushner's The Privilege of the Sword, which I read sort of by accident--I didn't mean to start it at all the other night, and I certainly didn't intend to finish it tonight. I wish I hadn't done either. I wish Kushner hadn't written it. To say I'm disappointed is a sad understatement.
In the first place, the lush and elegant writing from Swordspoint isn't there. It's not badly written, but it's not lyrical. Swordspoint made me ache, it was so beautiful. Sometimes I read paragraphs over several times just to savor them. I expect to reread the whole book in a few weeks. But The Privilege of the Sword just didn't have it.
Plus I didn't like the main character, Katherine, even though that's my name too. She was supposed to be 15 or 16 but she acted about ten some of the time and about thirty the rest of the time, according to the needs of the plot. The only really interesting character was the duke, who didn't get much page time in comparison.
Oh, and Katherine? Didn't actually do anything. She reacted. Since this book is essentially a YA coming-of-age story with half of another book stuck to it, that's a particular crime. I read a lot of YA and used to write a lot of it too, and the one thing you don't do in a YA story is make the main character passive. Katherine didn't even have anything to do with the story's climax.
I feel cheated, sadly cheated. But thank gawd I didn't read this book before Swordspoint, and I might easily have--I almost ordered it from Amazon several months ago without realizing it was a sequel.
Oh, and three word review: Not enough swordfighting.