The Absolute Book

Elizabeth Knox. Viking, $28 (656p) ISBN 978-0-593-29673-8
This sprawling and engrossing epic from Knox (Mortal Fire) opens with intimate tragedy and expands until the fates of several worlds hang in the balance. When Taryn Cornick’s sister, Beatrice, is killed, Taryn wants revenge, and over the 14 years that follow, she progresses from detached teen, then listless wife, to celebrated author. Her debut work of “musing nonfiction” discusses dangers to libraries, and its international acclaim wins Taryn both allies and enemies. As questions emerge about a fire in her grandparents’ library—which housed an ancient, mystical scroll—and Taryn’s involvement in a murder case, Taryn is drawn into a centuries-old conflict between demons and the sidhe. The story expands like inverse nesting dolls, beginning as a slow-burn thriller and gradually revealing itself as epic fantasy, even as it retains its core of real-world suspense. Bookish and withdrawn, Taryn is an unexpected chosen one and resists many of the standard heroic tropes. Knox bites off a bit more than she can chew, though, and several questions are left unanswered, but readers will still be impressed by the work’s sweeping scope. This ambitious fantasy is a master class in blending genres. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/16/2020
Release date: 02/09/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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