cover image Spring’s Arcana

Spring’s Arcana

Lilith Saintcrow. Tor, $17.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-79165-8

Saintcrow (Rattlesnake Wind) posits that gods, heroes, and characters from myth and lore live in an invisible world alongside humans in this unfulfilling urban fantasy. Nat Drozdova’s cancer ridden mother insists she can be cured—but only if Nat seeks out a mysterious woman named Mrs. de Winter. Nat’s visit to de Winter’s Manhattan offices introduces her to a fantastical world she never knew existed, where cats talk and divinities live in magic and luxury. It’s a world her mother is apparently very familiar with, and if Nat wants to cure her, she must team up with Dmitri Konets, who makes it clear he wants her and her mother dead, to recover the artifact her mother stole from de Winter and then lost. Much of the story consists of minor fetch quests to uncover key items needed to complete the main quest, bogging the story down and providing little in the way of real action. Nat is a frustratingly passive character, and while brooding Dmitri seems like he’s being set up as a potential love interest, readers will have to wait for future installments for the payoff. Indeed, the novel ends abruptly on a “to be continued,” leaving few threads tied up. The result is underwhelming. (May)