Skirmish: Vol. 4 of the House War

Michelle West, Author
Michelle West. DAW, $25.95 (608p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0701-8
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 01/03/2012
Jewel ATerafin returns home too late to see her mentor alive, but not too late to follow her as ruler of House Terafin. She collects magical allies and servitors: immortals Celleriant and Avandar, the white stag called the Winter King, and three giant, infuriating, talking winged cats. With the help of her den-siblings and a few other friends, Jewel battles threats to her House and city while negotiating hazardous political waters. The magic feels truly magical, luminous and confusing. Unfortunately Jewel’s lack of conscious control over her powers often makes her more deus ex machina than active heroine, and the magical creatures upstage the human interactions that were at the heart of earlier books. West capably handles the shift, which almost feels like a change in genre, but for fans who liked the House War series as “mannerpunk” more than epic fantasy, that may not be enough. (Jan.)
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