(3.5 stars rounded up to a 4)
High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson is a weird but fun queer romp. It’s a genre blend of fantasy and political satire with a dash of romance thrown in. The ebook version is 160 pages. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at a little over four and a half hours and is narrated by Amy Scanlon.
Lana Baker is the best scribe in Aldgate, full of wit and down to flirt with just about anyone. She ends up sent to Low Parliament in place of another scribe. However, if Parliament does not agree in an important vote, everyone will be drowned. Lana seeks the help of Bugbite, a fairy, and Eloquentia, a human deputy, to attempt to save humanity and maybe get laid in the process.
For those of you who have some knowledge of alignment charts in Dungeons & Dragons, Lana is the epitome of chaotic neutral. The author apparently describes this novella as “a lesbian stoner buddy comedy with fairies–about Brexit” and that is a pretty apt description. I enjoyed the read but found it a tad confusing.
There seem to only be women in this alternate 18th-century England (known as Angland), which is never actually explained. Also, I may have understood the book better if I was more knowledgeable about Brexit or Britain’s Parliament in general. That, or as the author is from Canada, maybe we both are confused about Brexit/Parliament?
All-in-all, I think this story would have been better if it was a full-length novel that was fleshed out with more worldbuilding. Knowing a bit about why the humans and fairies struck a bargain and created the Low Parliament in the first place could have been really cool.
Tropes in this book include: political intrigue, sapphic main character, sapphic side characters, fairies, unlikeable heroine
CW: drug use, binge drinking
Special thanks to Tordotcom, Macmillan, Recorded Books, RB Media, and NetGalley for providing an eARC and an audiogalley of this book for me to review. All opinions contained herein are my own. High Times in the Low Parliament releases tomorrow on Tuesday, August 9th, 2022.