cover image Tattoo


Kirsten Imani Kasai. Del Rey, $15 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-345-50882-9

Kasai returns to the fragile world of 2009's Ice Song, where somatics blend human and nonhuman characteristics into singular forms, and a tiny minority, the Traders, can transform from male to female and back again. Unfortunately for Trader Sorykah/Soryk, a Trader's personae are different people and existence is a zero-sum game; every moment Sorykah experiences is one that Soryk cannot, and vice versa. As the consequences of Queen Sidra's successful strike on Matuk the Collector, head of evil Tirai Industries, ripple across the world, Sorykah and Soryk contend for precious moments in time. In this odd mix of decadent futurism and secondary world fantasy where ancient myths coexist with mundane technology, the characters struggle to survive in a society stratified by economics and biology. As with Kasai's 2006 Flesh Hell (not linked to this series), Tattoo revels in the lushly erotic while remaining aware of the costs of addiction and self-indulgence. (Aug.)