A.M. Tuomala. Candlemark, $22.95 trade paper (550p) ISBN 978-1-936460-69-4
Tuomala’s first book since her 2010 debut, Erekos, is a powerful and meticulously realized work of historical fantasy tying Russian sociopolitical movements to legends of dragons. A century after the dragons defected from Russia to the Turks, the Tarasov family still guards Russia’s borders, facing the Ottomans’ living weapons with hot lead and cold determination. But the family has been split asunder. With an unexpected threat looming amid ongoing questions about the dragons’ true nature, the Tarasov brothers and sister must overcome a past fraught with betrayal to secure peace on their land. Tuomala’s neatest trick is in building her world around existing events, such as the 1861 liberation of the serfs; she also lends extraordinary complexity and depth of emotion to her protagonists. Each Tarasov sibling is fully formed and easy to empathize with, making it difficult to choose sides when the trio are at one another’s throats. And Tuomala gives readers a rare treat: a queer heroine whose sexuality is merely part of a rich tapestry of characterization. This sophomore offering cements Tuomala’s reputation as an important current voice in the genre. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2016
Genre: Fiction
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