Starless

Jacqueline Carey. Tor, $25.99 (592p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8682-3
This rich, evocative fantasy epic from Carey (Miranda and Caliban) is a poignant tale of grand adventure. Khai was chosen at birth to serve as shadow (a soul-twin and protector) for the Sun-Blessed Princess Zariya of the House of the Ageless. He has spent the entirety of his young life in the desert, preparing for this task the gods have bestowed upon him. As puberty draws near, Khai is due to be presented to the princess, but his position is undermined when he learns that he is bhazim, a daughter who was pledged to be raised as a son. He also learns of a prophecy that speaks of the fallen god, Miasmus, a darkness that will “arise in the west against which one of the Sun-Blessed will stand.” Pragmatic Zariya, who was injured in childhood and walks with canes, is determined to be that prophesied one with the aid of her shadow. Khai, cautiously experimenting with gender presentation, joins Zariya and the defenders of the four quarters, a ragtag group who are committed to halting Miasmus’s destructive force. Carey handles themes of duty, love, and identity with tenderness and fortitude, never pigeonholing her protagonists, and the tapestry of her characters elevates this novel above its peers. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 06/12/2018
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-9769-3
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