cover image They Met in a Tavern

They Met in a Tavern

Elijah Menchaca. CamCat, $26.99 (420p) ISBN 978-0-7443-0383-4

Menchaca’s moody and entertaining fantasy debut centers on estranged friends who are forced to reconcile to survive. The Starbreakers, a group of “freelancers” consisting of Phoenix, Brass, Church, Angel, and Snow, were once infamous in Corsar for their daring feats and skill as bounty hunters. The group disbanded seven years ago after they accidentally blew up the city of Relgen during a mission, each blaming the others for the disaster. They’ve carved their separate paths since then—but when a mysterious foe offers a reward for their capture, every freelancer in Corsar suddenly turns on them. Phoenix, the Starbreakers’ former leader, knows that getting the gang back together may be their only shot against their assailants—but before they can move forward, they’ll have to confront their past. Menchaca spins a fast-paced story, expertly balancing scenes that tease out the strained dynamic between the Starbreakers with the high-stakes mystery of who has put a bounty on their heads. The thrilling cat-and-mouse game between the Starbreakers and their hunters, however, culminates in a disappointing anticlimax that raises more questions than it answers, setting things up for a sequel that will hopefully provide more clarity. Despite the frustrating turn, fantasy fans are sure to find plenty to enjoy. [em](Aug.) [/em]