cover image The Turn

The Turn

Kim Harrison. Gallery, $26.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-5011-0871-6

In this somewhat clunky prequel to her bestselling Hollows urban fantasy series, Harrison (The Operator) goes back to the 1960s to depict the drastic event known as the Turn. Elf Trisk Cambri yearns for success and glory as a geneticist but is overlooked due to her gender; when given a chance to work on a human-led project as an industrial spy, she accepts it, taking the opportunity to help perfect a tomato that could change the world. When her rival, fellow elf Trent “Kal” Kala­mack, sabotages the project, he inadvertently unleashes a plague that wipes out a billion humans (to which the survivors’ reaction is weirdly understated) and threatens the rest, only sparing the supernatural races hiding in plain sight. Now Trisk and her fellow Inderlanders must somehow stop the plague and save the world without revealing their true natures. While chronicling the collapse of civilization and the rise of the supernatural races, Harrison focuses on industrial espionage and science, in contrast to the romance-heavy books that follow; this one does have a forced romance plot between Trisk and Kal, but it’s hard to view an unintentional mass killer as a romantic hero. It’s a fantasy that feels more like a thriller, set in a 1960s that doesn’t entirely ring true, and crammed full of appearances and cameos by numerous familiar characters. It works well as fan service but relies heavily on the rest of the series to give its events meaning. [em]Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Feb.)[/em]