The Shores of Spain

J. Kathleen Cheney. Roc, $15 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-451-47291-5
The third and putatively last novel in the Golden City series (after The Seat of Magic) is strong in characterization and scene setting, but frail in plotting. In an alternate early-20th-century Portugal, humans have begun accepting the presence of sereia (mermaids) and selkies. Newlyweds Oriana Paredes, a sereia, and Duilio Arenias, a half-selkie, are on the sereia home islands to investigate the twisted magical plot that has been running through the whole series. Meanwhile, Duilio’s half-brother, Joaquim, and his beloved, Marina, are drawn to the Spanish mainland, which is heart of the conspiracy but also the place where it may be most vulnerable. Cheney’s characters are believable, whether sympathetic or despicable, and her descriptions are crisp and vivid; readers may not notice her reliance on contrivance, such as the enormous deus ex machina that concludes this novel, while they’re immersed in the action. Though imperfect, this installment is mesmerizing. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/01/2015
Release date: 07/07/2015
Genre: Fiction
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