If you’ve just read a bunch of dense literary things, and are looking for something light (as I was), Lawrence Watt-Evans’ Charming Sharra is pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered. This is the soon-to-be-latest book in the Ethshar series (it’s not actually published yet, but Watt-Evans gave an eARC to his Patreon patrons), and it has all the virtues of that series.
Specifically: It’s a book telling a very small personal story, but in doing so it sets up various magical quandaries and puzzles, and then ends up interacting with various events from the sweep of Ethsharian history that long-time series readers will remember. In an important way, it ends up being one of those “I wonder what the deal was with that un-named side character who briefly appeared for two pages in this other book” stories. But in doing that, it takes seriously the idea that we’re all the protagonist in our own stories, and sets up this rich life for a person that explains how they got into that odd situation.
Like all the books in this series, it’s a breezy, unchallenging read with enough depth and quality to it not to feel like trash. The genre needs more books at this weight, and I’m glad Watt-Evans is still producing them.