A smashing series opener for fans of literary fantasy.

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A Woman Warrior Born

THE BOOK OF BANEA, VOLUME 1

Edlund’s fantasy stars a capable young warrior who seeks more knowledge about a ruinous prophecy she herself is destined to fulfill.

In the kingdom of Limtir lives 19-year-old Breea Banea, the youngest female applicant to the Library in 1,000 years. She’s an expert in woodland survival, hunting, and combat. Breea still has much to learn, however, including the potent magic of weaving and why a priest said that her birth signaled the destruction of Yash, the religious capital city of the distant realm of Yasharn. In the forest, Breea encounters the violent Lupazg, a being out of the Legend Time who can change from a man to a giant white wolf. Lupazg strikes at the Library, placing Breea’s friend and mentor, Ajalay, (and most of the Tomeguard soldiers) in mortal danger. During the chaos, a guard named SaKlu performs a coup at the Library that’s tied to the religious upheaval sweeping nearby lands. He rules in the name of Yash, proclaiming those who stand against him vile Dauthaz. Will Breea survive long enough to discover the truth about her role in the Yasharn prophecies? This first volume in author Edlund’s ambitious new series drops readers into a grandiose realm, filled with forest cats who speak the secret Breowic language and lovers who have “caught the moonstone” for each other. The prose is dense and lyrical, reminiscent of high-fantasy masterminds like M. John Harrison: “The spark hovering above her palm,” we read of Ajalay in battle, “shone like a star brought to ground.” Edlund’s cinematic action scenes feature magic that whips and writhes like a living thing (“Lupazg snarled, and frost rimed her clothing and hair”). Though many of the set pieces are standard fantasy fare—the sea battle and the bustling city—audiences will likely follow the complex Breea anywhere after Edlund’s astonishing cliffhanger.

A smashing series opener for fans of literary fantasy.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4937-2995-1

Page Count: 279

Publisher: Landstrider Press

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

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THE CITY WE BECAME

This extremely urban fantasy, a love/hate song to and rallying cry for the author’s home of New York, expands her story “The City, Born Great” (from How Long ’Til Black Future Month, 2018).

When a great city reaches the point when it's ready to come to life, it chooses a human avatar, who guides the city through its birthing and contends with an extradimensional Enemy who seeks to strike at this vulnerable moment. Now, it is New York City’s time to be born, but its avatar is too weakened by the battle to complete the process. So each of the individual boroughs instantiates its own avatar to continue the fight. Manhattan is a multiracial grad student new to the city with a secret violent past that he can no longer quite remember; Brooklyn is an African American rap star–turned–lawyer and city councilwoman; Queens is an Indian math whiz here on a visa; the Bronx is a tough Lenape woman who runs a nonprofit art center; and Staten Island is a frightened and insular Irish American woman who wants nothing to do with the other four. Can these boroughs successfully awaken and heal their primary avatar and repel the invading white tentacles of the Enemy? The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city’s tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers. It's no accident that the only white avatar is the racist woman representing Staten Island, nor that the Enemy appears as a Woman in White who employs the forces of racism and gentrification in her invasion; her true self is openly inspired by the tropes of the xenophobic author H.P. Lovecraft. Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-50984-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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