"The Paladin Caper" review
Title: The Paladin Caper
Author: Patrick Weekes
Subgenre: Heist, humor
2021 Bingo squares: Backlist
Recommend: If you read the first two, you’ll like the third, but maybe just stop after The Palace Job.
The first half of The Paladin Caper combines the best parts of The Palace Job - the humor and character interactions - with the best parts of The Prophecy Con - the true high fantasy plot - as the ancients are beginning to return to the world. It introduces the perfect villain for the setting, incompetent yes-man Handel Westteich. And it even finds a way to make Kail’s “your mother” jokes funny. After completion of the first arc, the novel flounders for a bit, but the payout of the climax is excellent and well worth the wait.
Also, I finally figured out how to pronounce (and spell!) Irrethelathlialann.
As the Republic’s nobles are turning into Paladin-band-wearing zombies so they can go to an exclusive gym, expect more one-liners like
She did not hate heights, but a few months ago, she had fallen to her death (priestesshood)
and charming descriptions like
It was covered with a faint glowing eldritch pattern that looked a little like something you’d find on an old lady’s couch but was probably really dangerous runes.
Unfortunately, The Paladin Caper continues to parody but not actually deal with issues of racism and sexism. As in earlier novels, there’s never any question that Patrick Weekes’s stance is “racism is bad, we should not have racism,” but once again I can’t help but feel that because nothing of substance is ever said on the topic, it has no place here.
My verdict on the series as a whole is that while the first one is unquestionably excellent, the cons (hahaha) of the later novels might not make up for the pros. You can certainly treat The Palace Job as a standalone if you want, and then you have the option of reading a “sequel duology” of an epic fantasy set afterwards in the same world with the same characters.