The House of Shattered Wings
by Aliette de Bodard
416pp (Hardcover)
My Rating: 6/10
Amazon Rating: 3.4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.6/5
Goodreads Rating: 3.41/5
 

Nebula-Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings, the first Dominion of the Fallen novel, won the British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. A sequel, The House of Binding Thorns, is scheduled for release in April.

The Great Houses War left Paris in ruins. Those who are fortunate belong to a House backed with magic and power that can protect its members. Most Houses are ruled by one of the Fallen, beings who literally fell to the Earth after being cast down by God. Though they have magic, they are vulnerable since they are literally made of power: their flesh, blood, and bones can make ordinary humans quite potent—and there are many desperate ordinary humans struggling just to survive within the city who desire that power.

When a new Fallen crashes to the ground in Paris, she’s first discovered by two gang members, one of whom convinces the other they should harvest her parts. The young Fallen’s terror and pain lead another Fallen to the spot: Selene, who became the Head of House Silverspires after the mysterious disappearance of its founder and her teacher, Morningstar. Selene fights with magic that should easily destroy both attackers, but the instigator’s companion absorbs her spell even though he’s not Fallen and is left behind by the other, being to weak to run after his efforts. This magic arouses Selene’s curiosity—she’s never experienced anything like it before—and she has this man, Philippe, brought back to her House along with the rescued Fallen.

Though held in House Silverspires against his will, Philippe can at least wander through it. In the course of his explorations, he encounters a cursed mirror that unleashes darkness and causes him to see visions of Morningstar. Soon after, shadows stalk the House, and people and Fallen die suddenly of unknown causes: the only clue is that they all have a wound that looks like a snakebite. Those within the House must unravel the mystery or the entire House may fall…

The House of Shattered Wings is a decent novel with a lot of strengths. Most of all, I loved the blending of different fantasy elements in this setting. Since Europe and the Fallen have been taking over the world, older magics have been fading but there are still remnants (perhaps more than the Fallen realize given that Philippe’s abilities are surprising and incomprehensible to them). Though the details of Philippe’s history in Annam are not fully explained, he was once a mortal who earned a place as an Immortal in the Jade Emperor’s Court—until he was cast out, making him somewhere between the two states. In addition to angels and spirits, the book also draws from Greek mythology.

It’s also a good story with some lovely prose, and the first half was extremely readable as it set up the world and introduced some intriguing characters:

  • Selene, a Fallen who tries to fulfill her duties protecting House Silverspires while feeling as though she’ll never be able to live up to her predecessor, the oldest and most powerful of all the Fallen: Morningstar himself.
  • Philippe, a former Immortal with a mysterious background stuck in France after he was forced to leave his homeland to fight their war.
  • Isabelle, the newest Fallen who can be by turns timid and fierce (or naive and wise).
  • Madeleine, the House alchemist who turned to the addictive substance angel essence after she was haunted by the death of someone she cherished and her own narrow escape from a coup at House Hawthorn.
  • Emmanuelle, the intelligent, empathetic House archivist and Selene’s partner (the other four are more major characters but I had to include her because I thought she was the most likable!).

However, my patience started to wear thin throughout the second half for one main reason: the narrative is bogged down by too much internal monologue. It’s told through the third person, mainly from the perspectives of Philippe, Selene, and Madeleine, and it seemed as though none of these characters could have a conversation or observe events without following it up with every single thought on what had just happened instead of moving the plot forward. At times, this much telling can work, but I didn’t feel it added much to their characterization. They did not have distinct voices, and most of these reflections were either simple observations or introspection that didn’t show much new about them.

Earlier in the book, this didn’t bother me as much since I was just getting to know the characters, but later it made them seem rather stale, especially since the dialogue was also rather to the point and did not exhibit personality. By the end, I found that the characters who were more in the shadows were more compelling than the main characters, all of whom had interesting backgrounds but did not have much complexity or multidimensional characterization. Even though I was disappointed in the politics between Houses since these conversations lacked tension or fun exchanges, I’m most likely to read the sequel in hopes of more about two of those characters in the shadows, Claire and Asmodeus. Claire, a shrewd older woman, is one of the few mortals to become head of a House and seems to be the type to play a long game. Asmodeus has mysterious motivations, and I am quite interested in learning more about why he has some of the whims he does.

The House of Shattered Wings is a promising first novel in the series, and it is a great story with some beautiful phrasing. However, the narrative is bogged down by too much introspection that doesn’t advance the characterization or add much insight (especially later in the novel), making it less engaging to read during the second part despite the excellent setting and prose. It succeeded in making me curious about the sequel but I’m not quite convinced I want to read it once it has been published.

My Rating: 6/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

This book is January’s selection from a poll on Patreon.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought three books, but first, here’s last week’s review in case you missed it:

Now, the latest books in the mail!

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project #2) by Mishell Baker

This urban fantasy novel will be released on March 21 (hardcover, ebook, paperback). Borderline, the first book in the Arcadia Project series, has received many rave reviews and was featured as both a Publishers Weekly Staff Pick and a Library Journal Debut of the Month.

Mishell Baker’s website has an excerpt from Borderline.

 

In the second book to the “exciting, inventive, and brilliantly plotted” (Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author) Borderline, Millie unwillingly returns to the Arcadia Project when an impossible and deadly situation pulls her back in.

Four months ago, Millie left the Arcadia Project after losing her partner Teo to the lethal magic of an Unseelie fey countess. Now, in a final visit to the scene of the crime, Millie and her former boss Caryl encounter Teo’s tormented ghost. But there’s one problem: according to Caryl, ghosts don’t exist.

Millie has a new life, a stressful job, and no time to get pulled back into the Project, but she agrees to tell her side of the ghost story to the agents from the Project’s National Headquarters. During her visit though, tragedy strikes when one of the agents is gruesomely murdered in a way only Caryl could have achieved. Millie knows Caryl is innocent, but the only way to save her from the Project’s severe, off-the-books justice is to find the mysterious culprits that can only be seen when they want to be seen. Millie must solve the mystery not only to save Caryl, but also to foil an insidious, arcane terrorist plot that would leave two worlds in ruins.

The Skill of Our Hands by Steven Brust and Skyler White

The Skill of Our Hands (Incrementalists #2) by Steven Brust and Skyler White

The Skill of Our Hands, the second novel in the Incrementalists series, was released last week (hardcover, ebook). Tor.com has excerpts from both books in this series:

  1. The Incrementalists
  2. The Skill of Our Hands
 

The Incrementalists are a secret society of two hundred people; an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, a little bit at a time.

Now Phil, the Incrementalist whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has been shot dead. They’ll bring him back—but first they need to know what happened. Their investigation will lead down unexpected paths in contemporary Arizona, and bring them up against corruption in high and low places alike. But the key may lay in one of Phil’s previous lives, in Kansas in 1859, and the fate of a man named John Brown.

Additional Book(s):

The Masked City
by Genevieve Cogman
381pp (Trade Paperback)
My Rating: 8.5/10
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.91/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.01/5
 

Note: This review contains what some may consider to be a spoiler for the first book. If you’d prefer to go into the first book without knowing the true identity of one of the characters until it’s revealed, you may want to avoid reading further and read my review of the first book, The Invisible Library, instead.


The Masked City is both Genevieve Cogman’s second novel and the second installment in the Invisible Library series—and it is every bit as delightful as its predecessor! These books follow the adventures of Irene, a spy for an organization outside of time and space known as the Library, and they are tailor-made for bibliophiles with literary references galore. When she was a junior Librarian, Irene traveled to alternate worlds collecting specific books required by the Library by any means necessary: sometimes she was able to simply purchase them, but other times she had to establish herself in that world and plan a heist. Her role as a member of the Library involves using her wits and ability with the Language, a tongue known only to Librarians that allows them to shape reality (though they must take care to put words together precisely in order to achieve the desired effect!).

At the beginning of The Masked City, Irene is now officially acting as Librarian-in-Residence to the Victorianesque world from her mission in The Invisible Library. This more stationary assignment is no less exciting than her jaunts to various worlds—while on a mission to procure a book from an auction, a rival attempts to poison her and then she and her apprentice Kai, a dragon prince, are attacked by werewolves after leaving the venue—and she continues to handle perilous situations with aplomb.

Irene and Kai have cause to believe the Fae were behind their encounter with violent werewolves, and shortly after this event, Fae libertine Lord Silver confirms their suspicions (though somewhat ambiguously since he’s taken an oath that prevents him from warning them outright). After their meeting with Lord Silver, Irene visits the Library to drop off the hard-earned book and do some research related to their current situation while Kai discusses recent events with their friend Vale, who also happens to be London’s greatest detective. When Irene returns from the Library, she intends to meet Kai at Vale’s, but instead she’s met with disturbing news: Kai has disappeared.

All evidence points to Fae involvement, and Irene must discreetly accompany some of them on a trip to an alternate world’s seventeenth-century-like Venice to have any chance of saving her apprentice before it’s too late. The problem with this course of action (besides the obvious problems of blending in and escaping with Kai) is that this world is so chaotic that it’s perfectly suited to the Fae, right down to having a tendency to conform to the narratives they wish for their own stories to follow. It’s a dangerous quest but the consequences of failure are not only personal but also political: a war between the Fae and the dragons could lead to the destruction of worlds, and neither side would spare innocents caught in the middle of their conflict.

Just like the first book in the series, The Masked City is immensely entertaining with delightful narration. Though it didn’t build on the mysteries introduced in the first book or have as much of Kai and Irene together as I would have liked, it made up for these absences in other ways and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first book—even a little bit more.

The Invisible Library series is largely an ode to books, and the plot of The Masked City in particular revolves around the power of language and story. It’s concentrated on the Fae and reveals more about how they operate in a chaotic world suited to their nature as well as how it affects humans and the orderly nature of dragons. The Fae have a flair for drama and tend to see themselves as playing a role in a story, and when on a chaotic world, events tend to bend to fit their own narratives. I’m not entirely convinced by this: although it seems reasonable that a world suited to the Fae would work to their advantage, I also find it odd that a chaotic being on a chaotic world would tend to find their lives following patterns. Similarly, more powerful Fae become walking stereotypes, which also seems more predictable than I’d expect from a being of chaos. However, it didn’t bother me too much because this also led to Irene needing to use her knowledge of fairy tale traditions as part of her rescue mission.

As much as I loved the focus on storytelling, Irene herself is the highlight of The Masked City. Irene is competent, practical, responsible, quick thinking, and difficult to unnerve. Realizing she’s been given a glass of poisoned wine is not a cause for panic for her: it’s a mere inconvenience and a waste of a refreshing chilled drink. There are some situations—such as visiting a dragon king—that make her nervous, but she still keeps a clear head even when outside of her comfort zone. Though not perfect, Irene is analytical and rather self aware, and she never seems to take a risk without weighing the options and evaluating the stakes and consequences first. I appreciated these qualities in the first book, but I thought this novel gave an especially good sense of her character and priorities since she has to make a big decision based on different loyalties and duties. She’s not the type to dwell on whether or not she made the right call once she’s made a choice or shirk the repercussions of her actions, and I am even fonder of her as a character now.

Even though I missed reading about Kai and Irene working through an assignment together, I did enjoy the introduction of Zayanna, a flirty Fae woman whose scenes with Irene were great fun. Irene meets Zayanna while trying to blend in amongst the Fae, and she ends up getting Zayanna caught up in some of her troubles. Zayanna is quite unfazed by this: in fact, she is delighted by it and believes it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. She loves melodrama, wholeheartedly enjoys being caught up in adventure, and is quick to contribute reckless plans of her own.

It may not have delivered some of the answers I’d been hoping for after reading the first book, but The Masked City still delivered an amusing tale focused on a wonderfully capable heroine. The Invisible Library is becoming one of my favorite new series and I can’t wait for the fourth book (since I’ve already read the newly-released third novel, The Burning Page!).

My Rating: 8.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: Finished copy from the publisher.

Other Reviews of The Masked City:

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought a few books, including the first couple in a new series by Alison Goodman. I quite enjoyed her Eon duology, especially Eona!

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Club was first released last year, and the trade paperback edition became available earlier this month. It was selected by NPR as one of the Best Young Adult Books of 2016, and it was also an Aurealis Award finalist in both the Best Fantasy Novel and Best Y.A. Novel categories.

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from The Dark Days Club (link is below the cover image).

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona; a Regency adventure series starring a stylish and intrepid Buffy-esque demon-hunter

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Alison Goodman

The second book in the Lady Helen trilogy will be released on January 31 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from The Dark Days Pact (link is below the cover image).

 

Sequel to New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman’s acclaimed The Dark Days Club—a smashing combination of Buffy and Jane Austen!

Summer, 1812.
After the scandalous events at her presentation ball in London, Lady Helen has taken refuge at the fashionable seaside resort of Brighton, banished from her family and training as a Reclaimer with the covert Dark Days Club. She must learn to fight the dangerous energy-wielding Deceivers and prepare to face their master, the elusive Grand Deceiver.

As she struggles to put aside her genteel upbringing, Helen realizes that her mentor, Lord Carlston, is fighting his own inner battle. Has the foul Deceiver energy poisoned his soul, or is something else driving him towards violent bouts of madness? Either way, Helen is desperate to help the man with whom she shares a deep but forbidden connection.

When Mr. Pike, the hard bureaucratic heart of the Dark Days Club, arrives in Brighton, he has a secret mission for Helen: find the journal left by a mad rogue Reclaimer, before it falls into the hands of the Deceivers. Coerced by Pike, Helen has no choice but to do as ordered, knowing that the search for the journal may bring about Lord Carlston’s annihilation.

Additional Book(s):

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Due to the holidays and the beginning of a new year, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts. Also due to the holidays, there are far too many books that I want to feature to highlight them all today! Since it would have taken forever to set up a post that included detailed information for all those books, I limited it to six featured books (one ARC and five Christmas gifts) and listed all the other books that showed up since the last Leaning Pile of Books post below. Some of these are books in the mail, some are holiday presents, and one is a book I purchased.

In case you missed it, here are the reviews and lists that went up since the last one of these articles:

And now, the latest books!

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things was released in October 2016, and I’ve been hearing it is excellent. Even aside from that, I’ve wanted to read it ever since I first read the description and saw the cover!

The blog My Friend Amy has an excerpt from Certain Dark Things.

 

Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon

Cold Welcome (Vatta’s Peace #1) by Elizabeth Moon

Cold Welcome, the first book in a new series following the Vatta’s War series, is scheduled for release in April (hardcover, ebook).

 

Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with a thrilling series featuring Kylara Vatta, the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

After nearly a decade away, Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this installment in a thrilling new series featuring the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.

Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr

Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr

I’ve heard Lord of the Two Lands is excellent, and I also quite like the sound of a historical fantasy about Alexander the Great!

 

In 336 B.C., Egypt lay under the yoke of Persia, ruled by Governors appointed by the King of Kings in Persis. And in the Temple of Amon in Thebes dwelt the only living child of Nectanebo, the last fully Egyptian Pharaoh, who had been defeated in battle and slain by Darius’s servants

But from the north a spirit of fire was moving across the World. A great warrior and general, the king of Macedonia, had risen to rule the Hellenic city-states. Now he was determined to challenge the might of the Persian Empire, to engage Darius himself in battle, and to defeat him. He was called Alexander, and the priests of Amon in Egypt saw that he was destined to rule their ancient land.

So they sent Meriamon, Beloved of Amon, daughter of Pharaoh, Singer and Priestess of the God, up from Egypt to the Plains of Issus, where a great battle had been fought, and the Persian king defeated. There she was to find Alexander, and persuade him to turn from the straight Eastward road and come south – where the double crown of Egypt awaited him.

LORD OF THE TWO LANDS is firmly based in the history of Alexander the Great, and then steeped in the rich, sun-drenched magics of ancient Egypt. It will transport you back to the time of heroes, when one man changed the face of the world.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire #1) by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit sounds interesting, and I also wanted to read Yoon Ha Lee’s first novel because I enjoyed “The Coin of Heart’s Desire” in the Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales anthology. I’ve seen Ninefox Gambit appear on quite a few “Best Books of 2016” lists so now I’m even more intrigued by it!

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from Ninefox Gambit.

 

The first installment of the trilogy, Ninefox Gambit, centers on disgraced captain Kel Cheris, who must recapture the formidable Fortress of Scattered Needles in order to redeem herself in front of the Hexarchate.

To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.

Seed to Harvest by Octavia Butler

Seed to Harvest (Patternmaster #1-4) by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred is an amazing, incredibly powerful novel and one of the best books I read last year. I want to read everything Octavia Butler has written, and this series in particular sounds very interesting.

 

Contains the novels Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay’s Ark, and Patternmaster.

In her classic Patternist series, multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Octavia E. Butler established themes of identity and transformation that echo throughout her distinguished career. Now collected for the first time in one volume, these four novels take readers on a wondrous odyssey from a mythic, prim/ordial past to a fantastic far future.

In ancient Africa, a female demigod of nurture and fertility mates with a powerful, destructive male entity. Together they birth a race of madmen, visionaries, and psychics who cling to civilization’s margins and back alleys for millenia, coming together in a telepathic Pattern just as Earth is consumed by a cosmic invasion. Now these new beings–no longer mearly human–will battle to rule the transfigured world.

Wolfblade by Jennifer Fallon

Wolfblade (Wolfblade Trilogy #1) by Jennifer Fallon

One of my favorite books of 2016 was The Lyre Thief, the first book in a new series set after the Wolfblade and Demon Child trilogies. It piqued my interest about the previous stories set in this world, and since I loved Marla, I’m especially interested in reading more about her in Wolfblade!

 

Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family’s great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers’ Collective, the Patriots — even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory.

Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets — but that doesn’t matter to Marla Wolfblade. Her brother is the High Prince of Hythria, and, in this fiercely patriarchal society, her fate will be decided on his whim. She needs someone politically astute to guide her through the maze of court politics — and Elezaar the Dwarf knows more than he lets on.

As Elezaar teaches Marla the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, Marla starts on the road to becoming a tactician and a wily diplomat — but will that be enough to keep her son alive?

Additional Books:

Since the beginning of 2016, I have been reading and reviewing one book a month based on the results of a poll on PatreonAll of these monthly reviews can be viewed here.

It’s impossible to keep up with all the books, and even aside from there always being more books to read than time to read them in, I’ve missed out on some books I was especially eager to read the last couple of years due to moving so many times—so I thought it would be great to start the new year by catching up a little! The January poll selections are books that I’d like to read before the next book comes out later this year (I’m not positive the sequel to the first book on the list will actually be published this year, but in any case, I’d like to read it). The choices for the January book were as follows:

The first monthly book of 2017 is…

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Multi-award winning author Aliette de Bodard, brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy…

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

Aliette de Bodard is an excellent writer, and this sounds fantastic. I’m excited about reading it this month!