cover image The Book of Gems

The Book of Gems

Fran Wilde. Tordotcom, $16.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-250-19656-9

Wilde’s fulfilling third Gem Universe novella (after The Fire Opal Mechanism) pits science against myth—and the winner is not as clear as one might expect. The Jeweled Valley that once created the magical gems that power this world has long since been destroyed. Now Dev Brunai and her fellow Society scientists work to create synthetic gems—but Dev holds out hope that true gems may still exist, and she’s galvanized by an archaeological dig’s recent rediscovery of the Palace of Gems. When her mentor goes missing at the dig site, Dev uses the disappearance as an opportunity to visit the site herself. She’s met by frequent earthquakes and hostile locals, who know that the Society will plunder whatever bounty they find. She soon learns there’s more to the gems than she realized. Meanwhile, her cousin, Lurai, investigates the disappearance of her own mother, who also vanished from the dig site. Readers will root for the cousins to find answers, and even those new to the series will be swept up in Wilde’s inventive worldbuilding. This is a bite-size treat. (June)