cover image When Among Crows

When Among Crows

Veronica Roth. Tor, $19.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-85548-0

Bestseller Roth (Arch-Conspirator) pulls from Slavic lore in this captivating, bite-sized urban fantasy. Hidden amid the streets of Chicago are creatures that feed off negative emotions like fear and anger. Dymitr has lived a life of pain as a member of the fanatical Holy Order, an organization dedicated to killing these so-called “monsters,” a crusade the Order members pay for in blood and pieces of their own souls. Now he’s on a mission to find the witch Baba Jaga, seeking her favor to free himself from this life. Dymitr crosses paths with Ala, a young woman from a cursed bloodline, who agrees to help him find Baba Jaga in exchange for the fern flower, a rare magical plant in Dymitr’s possession that may be the only hope to break Ala’s curse. But the flower only blooms for 36 hours, putting the pair in a race against time to locate the witch. Roth creates a fascinating magical world full of colorful mythical creatures, and by alternating between intense action scenes and more intimate moments of character development, she keeps the pages flying, though after so much anticipation the quiet ending feels a bit anticlimactic. Still, there’s plenty of fun to be had. (May)