cover image Fire Angels

Fire Angels

Jane Routley. Avon Books, $13 (436pp) ISBN 978-0-380-79425-6

An accomplished fantasy of maturity and depth, Routley's second novel (after Mage Heart) continues the story of Dion Holyhands, raised by a stern foster-father to develop her outstanding magical powers. Here, Dion is reintroduced to the extended family she had lost and continues her coming-of-age, including renewed battle against her lover and foe, the demon Bedazzer. Dion is a strong character, introspective but often misled by self-doubt and guilt. Aided by the gypsylike Wanderers, she finds that her magic has destined her for a central role in the government of her homeland, Moria. While many genre fantasies simply add magic to political intrigue, Routley's are noteworthy for the natural and inevitable intertwining of the two. Here, for instance, different countries prohibit and allow different magics, thereby controlling their citizens. Well-drawn backgrounds and characters add to the appeal, as Routley produces another fantasy that can be read for more than myth or pyrotechnics, accelerating her rise as one of the genre's bright new stars. (June)