Raven Nothing

Som Paris. Aqueduct, $20 trade paper (356p) ISBN 978-1-61976-171-1
Paris debuts with an insightful but overlong coming-of-age fantasy highlighting the intersections of identity. The reader is abruptly dropped into the story as Raven, a Black trans woman from modern-day London, awakens on an iceberg in a fantasy land. A man named Adap rescues her from the ocean and brings her to the safety of his village—but then soldiers arrive, seeking to capture and imprison “crossovers,” or trans people. Raven and Adap flee for the Golie Mountains, hoping to find a shaman who will help them. Though the ponderous pacing occasionally causes the story to drag, Paris successfully builds the tension with descriptions of the strange, monstrous creatures populating this off-kilter world and moments of high-stakes danger for the protagonists—as when a nefarious shaman drugs Raven and Adep. The worldbuilding boasts well-developed political structures and intercultural conflict, and the all-Black cast shines. Paris’s sensitive approach to both race and gender is sure to impress; readers will be excited to see what this promising author does next. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/13/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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