cover image The Ingenious

The Ingenious

Darius Hinks. Angry Robot, $12.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-85766-789-2

In this dense but rewarding secondary-world fantasy, Hinks (Warrior Priest) tells the story of Isten, a would-be revolutionary prophesied to free her people. Isten lives in the city of Athanor, a rotating kingdom that moves across lands and absorbs bits of each place it encounters. It’s incredibly multicultural but economically destitute. A childhood prophecy has made people believe Isten will lead a revolution in her home country, but the pressure has caused an addiction that is killing her. Isten wants to serve her purpose but needs help. She meets and becomes allies with Alzen, a member of the elite class known as the Elect, who is also seeking a way to achieve his purpose: becoming the Ingenious, a powerful magician. They eventually give each other the power to achieve their goals. Hinks’s descriptions are intense, bordering on the grotesque, showing the effects of colonization, unchecked power, and revolution—but it takes a long time to get to the meat of the story. For readers of fantasy with a sociopolitical bent, this intriguing novel will be worth the time and focus required to reach its heart. (Feb.)