ALL THE WINDWRACKED STARS by Elizabeth Bear

ALL THE WINDWRACKED STARS

KIRKUS REVIEW

Norse fantasy/cyberpunk/apocalyptic science fiction, from Bear (Hell and Earth, 2008, etc.).

Following Ragnarok, the Norse Twilight of the Gods, the only survivors were the valkyrie (warrior-angel) Muire, Kasimir the valraven (two-headed flying steed) and Mingan, a dark-angel wolf. Civilization eventually rose again, developed advanced technology, and again destroyed itself in a futile war. Now, only one city, Eiledon, remains, surrounded by desolation, kept functioning by Thjierry Thorvaldsdottir, the Technomancer, using a combination of technology, magic and who-knows-what. Muire, though she has lost most of her angelic power, still patrols the streets; occasionally she talks with Kasimir, now a steam-powered, metallic cyborg. Together they note the reappearance of Mingan, who attempts to intercept the delivery of a mysterious object of power to Selene, one of the Technomancer's powerful slave-mages. Muire vows to avenge the messenger, who dies in her arms, but she's no match for Mingan, who can travel in and out of other dimensions, until—for reasons that only gradually become apparent—the wolf kisses her and thereby transfers to her some of his power. Muire slowly realizes that most, if not all, of the heroes who died at Ragnarok have been reincarnated. Moreover, far from preserving what's left of creation, the Technomancer is consuming it, so that no renascence will be possible. And the sources of her power are the 400 swords of power once wielded by Muire's fellow valkyries. Add to this a slow-motion, barely discernable power struggle, a mountain or two of soul-searching, streaks of vampire-ish sex and what-all besides.

A gnarled, overstuffed, heavyweight yarn from the farthest fringes of the speculative genre—in those terms, a howling success.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1882-4
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2008




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