cover image A Far Wilder Magic

A Far Wilder Magic

Allison Saft. Wednesday, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-25062-365-2

Two white, religious outcasts—an alchemist and a marksman—team up in a divine fox hunt in this vividly written, 1920s-esque fantasy romance and blunt political parable. Months after 17-year-old Jewish-analogue Margaret Welty’s researcher and alchemist mother left her behind in their crumbling New Albion manor, the Halfmoon Hunt comes to her small colonial seaside town, intending to kill the last living demiurge, the hala. And with it arrives working-class Catholic-analogue emigrants’ son Weston Winters, 18, who attempts to charm Maggie into a last-ditch apprenticeship with her mother to save his reformist political ambitions. After Wes’s mother is injured and his hopes further endangered, Wes and Maggie partner up to win the festive—but deadly—hala hunt, save Weston’s starving family, and bring Margaret’s mother home. But as their slow-growing attraction blooms alongside a rivalry with the bigoted mayor’s son, Wes must find a way to crack a puzzle involving Maggie’s mother—and Maggie must choose the future she wants. Saft’s (Down Comes the Night) confident prose organically charts the well-characterized protagonists’ romance, but its allegorized Catholic and Jewish experiences center on stereotype and its magic on rigid formula. Fans of Brandon Sanderson and Libba Bray may nevertheless appreciate this light, fantastical romance. Ages 14–up. Agent: Claire Friedman and Jessica Mileo, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)