The Helm of Midnight

Marina Lostetter. Tor, $26.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-25-0-75705-0
The first in a new trilogy for Lostetter (Neumenon) uneasily blends fantasy with quasi-procedural detective work. Krona, a young Regulator, is assigned to guard a collection of enchanted artifacts on display at a celebration for the chief magistrate of Lutador. But when a monstrous varg attacks the event, the assault draws Krona’s attention long enough for two especially dangerous items to be stolen from the exhibit: a regulated despairstone brooch and executed serial killer Louis Charbon’s death mask. Determined to prove herself to her sister and superior, De-Lia, Krona resolves to catch the thieves and retrieve the items. But soon corpses begin to pile up throughout the city-state, suggesting that she’s got a Louis Charbon copycat killer on her hands. Lostetter intersperses Krona’s hunt for the killer with backstories involving Melanie Depont, a woman searching for a cure for her dying mother, and Louis Charbon himself, who was a legitimate surgeon before getting caught up in a sinister religious plot. The worldbuilding is impressive but overextended, with Lostetter’s highly detailed scene setting and frequent digressions into Lutador’s creation myths making for a cumbersome narrative. It’s an uneven opening, but there’s plenty of potential for series installments to come. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 12/09/2020
Release date: 04/13/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-250-25874-8
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