Melissa Scott and Lisa A Barnett
Completed 4/3/2016, reviewed 4/4/2016
“Point of Dreams” is the second in the Astreiant series. In this installment, there are a series of murders associated with a play to be staged at a great masque for the queen. Nicolas Rathe is once again called on to get to the bottom of this mystery. His leman, or lover, Philip Eslingen, is involved with the play and helps Rathe investigate the murders. This book won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Science Ficton/Fantasy/Horror novel. I found it to be a fairly good book, with some interesting fantasy, and much more readable than the first book, “Point of Hopes”.
What I liked most about the book was the search for the murder weapon of several of the victims. All the murders seem to be tied to a book called the “Alphabet”, a compilation of flowers that when arranged in specific ways have magical properties. I found this to be highly imaginative, taking something like flower arranging and infusing it with the power to heal, kill, and everything in between. On top of that, because the Alphabet is being referenced in the play, people are going crazy over buying flowers bulbs. It seems inspired by the tulip craze in Holland when the tulip effectively became the currency of the country.
Another very interesting aspect of the book is that it takes place at the time of the year called “ghost-tide”, when the spirits of those who have died normally and moved on are close. This is different from the rest of the year when only those spirits who are bound to the earth for some reason can be seen or felt. It’s reminiscent of the original concept of Halloween, Samhein, when the veil between our world and the spirit world is thinnest. And it provides us with an unusual side investigation for Nicolas. It seems that a lawyer’s deceased leman’s spirit is not around during this time when he should be. This implies that the leman did not die a natural death, but was murdered.
The relationship between Nicolas and Philip is further developed as well. What I found out through a little research is that there’s a novelette that was written after this book that goes back to fill in the gaps of how the two men move from being thrown together for the mystery in the first book to being lemans (yes, that’s the plural) in this book. It’s kind of cool that the relationship is still understated, reinforcing the fact that gay and lesbian relationships are just a normal part of the society.
This book gets another three star review from me, although the quality was much more even throughout the book. I didn’t have the trouble I had in the first volume. This one pulled me in right from the start. But basically, it is mystery fluff, and good fluff. It keeps me wanting to continue the series: the connector novelette, and the Spectrum Gaylactic Award-winning most recent volume “Fairs’ Point”.