cover image City of Savages

City of Savages

Lee Kelly. S&S/Saga, $25.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1030-4

There are plenty of heart-pounding moments in Kelly’s debut, and an abundance of vividly imagined details bring post-apocalyptic New York City to searing life. But the biggest risk is not one that the characters take—it’s Kelly’s bold spotlighting of the bonds between women. Sky and her younger sister, Phee, were raised in isolation by their fierce, reticent mother. Now they scrape together a subsistence living in the concrete shells of the damaged city. Winter forces them into temporary community with fellow survivors in Central Park, where the despot Rolladin enforces the rules at whim. The humans who have survived disaster neither dominate nor submit to the new landscape, and men and women compete as equal players and equal threats. Phee and Sky’s alternation of first-person, present-tense narration is unusual and effective as they mutually discover their history, survive their present, and grab for a future that acknowledges their loving sororal relationship. This bold choice for Saga’s launch lineup puts both the imprint and the author on track for idiosyncratic success. [em]Agent: Adriann Ranta, Wolf Literary Services. (Feb.) [/em]