cover image Phoenix Falling

Phoenix Falling

Laura Bickle. Harper Voyager, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-256735-2

Geologist Petra Dee Manget has a lot on her plate in Bickle’s fifth novel (after 2016’s Nine of Stars) set in the supernaturally saturated town of Temperance, Wyo. Particularly vicious wildfires are sweeping through Yellowstone National Park, and evidence indicates that a phoenix might be behind them. Petra’s husband, Gabe, is no longer human and must frequently regenerate under the Lunaria, the Tree of Life; Petra is free of leukemia, but her new body, born of magic, has her doubting her own humanity. As these individual challenges strain their relationship, Gabe and Petra also fear that evil alchemist Aldus Lascaris might still be alive and seeking to obtain immortality at any cost. Petra and her unusual friends and allies must confront an all-encompassing evil that threatens the fate of everything they hold dear. Bickle has a firm hold on her wonderfully weird world and her characters, who each have an important part to play in Petra’s most harrowing and high-stakes adventure yet. Gabe and Petra’s romance is complex and bittersweet, and her beloved Sig, who is no ordinary coyote, steals scene after scene. This emotionally resonant installment is a standout in a consistently superb series. Agent: Becca Stumpf, Prospect. (Mar.)