Past, present and future collide; science fiction melds with fantasy and historical thriller in the third volume of this genre-blending quartet.
It’s Midsummer Eve, and as Wintercombe Abbey is under siege by the Shee and their heartless faery queen, Jake and Sarah are snatched by a gang of time-traveling thieves and thrust into the chaos of the Reign of Terror. Meanwhile Janus, the tyrant of a dystopian future, is reaching back through the magical, inscrutable obsidian mirror to secure his power. After the cluttered excess of the previous volume, The Slanted Worlds (2014), Fisher regains her sure hand on the narrative, juggling a dozen major players through three distinct yet entangled storylines, winding through a single night to converge in an exuberant payoff. The lush prose highlights precise, sensory details to portray worlds from the overripe fecundity of the Summerland to the fetid prisons of revolutionary Paris to the stark beauty of an illusory moonscape. None of the characters are “nice,” exactly; but with their wry humor and plucky audacity, their complex motivations and conflicting agendas, every one engages readers’ sympathies. They endure loyalty and loss, bravery and betrayal, triumph and terror; but the hard-won victory of the final pages is clearly only a brief respite before they must put aside differences and distrust to unite against their formidable enemies.
Engrossing and addictive. (Science fiction/fantasy. 12 & up)