cover image Remedial Magic

Remedial Magic

Melissa Marr. Bramble, $17.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-88413-8

With this energetic queer romantasy, Marr (The Hidden Dragon) launches an exciting new duology. Librarian Ellie Brandeau’s hobby of researching missing persons cases has convinced her that only interesting people disappear, so she sets out to be as “ordinary” as possible. Then a glamorous woman walks into the library, gives her name as “Prospero,” and kisses Ellie. Ellie’s barely caught her breath from that encounter when a car crash and a series of bizarre hallucinations leave her lost in a strange land—where she encounters Prospero again. This hidden place, Prospero informs her, is Crenshaw, where all budding witches—Ellie included—are brought to learn to use their talents. Indeed, the missing persons Ellie’s been reading about are all here, yanked from their normal lives and, by Crenshaw’s rules, they can only leave if they leave their magic behind. Now the land is ailing and, according to Prospero, Ellie is the one fated to save it. The politics and intrigues of Crenshaw make this feel more fantasy than romance and it occasionally becomes tricky to keep track of Ellie and Prospero’s shifting motivations. Still, deep worldbuilding and a large, lively cast add depth and emotional weight on the way to a cliff-hanger that will have Marr’s fans clamoring for book two. This is a promising start. (Feb.)