cover image Lady Lazarus

Lady Lazarus

Michele Lang, Tor, $14.99 paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2317-0

Lang (Netherwood) makes a laudable attempt to develop an urban fantasy relying on Jewish history and myth, but her tale bogs down in sentimentality, incoherent motivations, and a tangled magical system. Magda is a Lazarus, eldest daughter of an eldest daughter, and the servant of the vampire Bathory in 1939 Budapest. After a Russian Jew begs for help obtaining a magical book that only vampires can get, Magda's beloved sister, Gisele, a seer, warns of coming devastation for the Jews. Magda sets out to get the book, encountering various otherworldly beings en route to a climactic magical duel with Hitler. Anyone familiar with WWII will find that the sketchy setting, corny dialogue ("Who are you to put the world in peril to save three girls from a fate greater than any of you can even understand?"), and cartoonish characters are overshadowed by the horror of real history. (Sept.)