I don't think i was prepared for what Swordspoint is. So much of the enjoyment we get from reading things in genre fiction involves the meeting of and defying of expectations. But for me, Swordspoint worked on levels that I didn't really even know I was looking for. It did that rarest of feats; I have new expectations for the things I read now.
Of course for that very reason I'm certain not everyone will love it the way I do. This is a story that defies traditional story telling in most ways while still maintaining an overall narrative structure that is absolutely classical. A story of political intrigue that spurs civil unrest in a world that borders the fantastical but never takes the full plunge with magic or anything like that..
Even the violence, of which there isn't a lot of, though it is discussed at length, is portrayed in a very beautiful way. I've never read something that was able to maintain it's theme even in the face of the absolutely brutal violence that occurs. By focusing on the character, and using the violence as an extension of that character's effect and intentions, the author weaves all of it to create something greater then the written word seemed capable of before.
I will say that though the writing is very beautiful and characters dynamic and enjoyable to live with, the story can be overtly complicated and there are times when you are left wondering why certain characters are given so much focus. The payoff for those story lines, though central to the plot probably didn't require the level of subterfuge and mystery that they received.
Swordspoint receives four stars out of five.