cover image Bloodring


Faith Hunter, . . Roc, $14 (337pp) ISBN 978-0-451-46108-7

Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage, lives secretly among humans in this entertaining if flawed postapocalyptic fantasy, the first in a new series from the pseudonymous Hunter (the author of Bloodstone and other paranormal romantic thrillers under her real name, Gwen Hunter). Even Thorn's friends, with whom she crafts jewelry, don't know she's a member of the new race that emerged in the catastrophe brought by winged "seraphs" a century earlier. When her ex-husband disappears, Thorn must use her only partially trained mage powers against the forces of Darkness. Outstanding supporting characters help compensate for a milieu with jarring inconsistencies (sugar is rare, but coffee and aspirin are common; no new computers have been built since most of humanity was wiped out, but the Internet is still an active source of commerce). The author's efforts to sex up the action with the concept of "mage-heat"—mages are uncontrollably lusty around seraphs—become tiresome, but the strong, cliffhanger of an ending bodes well for future adventures. (Nov.)