Dark Breakers

C.S.E. Cooney. Mythic Delirium, $33.95 (292p) ISBN 978-1-73264-406-9

Cooney’s lush follow-up to Desdemona and the Deep offers five stories linked by an intricate shared world. Two members of the royal line of the magical gentry race plan a heist of the moon in a hijacked spacecraft in “Sussura to the Moon.” Nyx, the queen of the gentry, falls hopelessly in love with a mortal painter, risking her antlered crown and both their lives in “The Breaker Queen.” “The Two Paupers” sees two humans, a sculptor and a novelist, put their charged, contentious relationship to the test as they lock horns with the forces of the gentry. An intrepid journalist uncovers horrors as she investigates a private institution for those too magic adjacent to be allowed in polite society in “Salissay’s Laundries.” A grieving widow goes to the forest to scatter her husband’s ashes and is surprised by an impossible invitation in “Longergreen.” Throughout, Cooney’s descriptions are extravagant and gorgeous, and the musical cadence of her prose makes it exceptionally easy to be drawn into the worlds she weaves. Though the focus on worldbuilding sometimes eclipses narrative consistency and plot development, the rococo flourishes and delicious sensory description anchor the overarching story nicely as its different strands come together. Romantic fantasy readers will find a lot to love. Agent: Markus Hoffmann, Hoffmann & Assoc. (Feb.)