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Aztec - Gary Jennings I'll start with brutal honesty and say that it's one of the few books that I couldn't put down, not because I loved it so much, but because it was so tortuous I wanted to say I conquered the whole thing. It's not a horrible book by any means, the plot itself and the writing being very well done. It's the start and stop of the pacing as well as the overuse of sex as a plot device that got very old and very fast. I can handle sex and even taboo themes in my reading materials and if it's unwanted I just skip. Unfortunately, Jennings made it very hard to do so in Aztec since the sex was so prolific and the story would screech to a halt to accommodate for it. On top of that there were a ton of lulls for lack of a better word, again feeling like I was being told 'remember that great part? The one that added to our narrative? Yeah? Well, here's some random crap! Enjoy!". That run and halt, run and halt type of narrative really pulled me out of Aztec's deep and colorful world.

The historical inconsistencies also hurt a good part of the novel. Now I'm no Sally Seamchecker and historical fiction is rife with fudging of the historical record for storytelling's sake and that's fine. There is a huge difference, however,between "let's have this character in a car two years before cars were a thing" and pulling up to a Mexica in a Delorean and try to go back in time to before Cortes was born to stop the discovery of of the coast. Guess which of those the book felt like?

On the good side I will give plenty of credit to Jennings for making a beautiful and rich cultural tapestry with an intriguing story that kept me wanting to finish even if had to wade through the muck to find the tail of the tale. There's several other books in the Aztec series so I'm going eventually try them in the hope that the author's style tightened up a bit and focused on a cleaner and smoother voice so we'll see how that goes.