Splashdance Silver (The Mocklore Chronicles No.1) – Tansy Rayner Roberts
In the tiny Empire of Mocklore, where the top job is a revolving door and magic is a major inconvenience, destiny is a force stronger than gravity. When Kassa’s notorious father, the pirate Vicious Bigbeard Daggersharp, dies suddenly and leaves his silver to her, she realises she’s being pushed into a decision – whether to follow in his footsteps and don the traditional eyepatch, or take up her dead mother’s career and become a witch. What she really wants to do is dance for a living, but she wants that treasure too. Unfortunately, so does the new Empress, her poster boy Champion and an army no one will admit actually exists…
I found this copy in a teeny bookshop, where I’d ended up under somewhat strange circumstances, and recognised the title because FableCroft recently reissued the entire series. This is comic fantasy in the vein of Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones, in which peculiar things happen constantly and no explanation can be expected. That didn’t always work for me, but it was definitely funny and had a bouncy, airy charm. Though Kassa was a likeable protagonist, I liked the Empress Talle better, and her Champion Aragon was always surprising me. The series continues with Liquid Gold.