The Five Daughters of the Moon

Leena Likitalo. Tor.com, $4.99 e-book (256p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9543-6
Likitalo’s lush debut, the first in a duology inspired by the Russian revolution and the story of the Romanov sisters, combines court intrigue, unnerving magic, and brewing revolution in a world powered by the souls of animals. When Gagargi Prataslav demonstrates the Great Thinking Machine, which “can answer every question” and “find an answer to questions that no one has even thought to ask yet,” to the Crescent Empress, she deems the cost of running it too high, as it runs on human souls. Determined, he turns to the restless masses, promising that the machine can save them from hardship and help them overthrow the empress. Her eldest daughter, Celestia, becomes an unwitting pawn in Prataslav’s diabolical plan, and when he strikes a deal with the empress, Celestia vows to protect her younger sisters. Sixteen-year-old Elise already knows of the brewing revolution from her beloved, Captain Janlav. Eleven-year-old Merile mostly cares about her animal companions, and 15-year-old Sibilia has no interest in political maneuvering. Only five-year-old Alina is haunted by the shadows of the animals who have sacrificed their souls for the Crescent Empire, and she has learned to trust her instinct for impending danger. Exiled, the sisters must plan their next moves in the conflict to come. A fantasy landscape both familiar and otherworldly comes to life in this absorbing, imaginative tale. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maass Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/05/2017
Release date: 07/25/2017
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