cover image Perilous Prophecy

Perilous Prophecy

Leanna Renee Hieber. Tor, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7744-9

This prequel to Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful series will appeal to fans who like their Victorian-era romance with a heavy helping of the supernatural. Eighteen-year-old Beatrice Smith loves the sights and sounds of 1867 Cairo, where she assists her father in his studies. After her lover, Jean, plunges to his death with Beatrice looking on, a beautiful woman calling herself Persephone appears and tells Beatrice that she’s part of a bigger plan, the Grand Work. Beatrice and five other people will form the Guard and lead the fight against spirits that haunt the city. Meanwhile, in the Whisper-world, Persephone fights the bonds of Darkness, who covets her, and longs to find a vessel for her beloved, the Phoenix, in the mortal world. Persephone is portrayed as innately good but also sometimes capricious, even at a cost to others. Beatrice moves on from Jean’s death alarmingly fast, and her feelings for her curt lieutenant, Ibrahim, are never really justified by his actions. Hieber is undeniably good at making individual scenes grab the reader, but her meandering style diminishes the serious tasks at hand, and flowery prose, heavy on melodrama, weighs the story down. Agent: Paul Stevens, Donald Maass Literary. (June)