cover image Cry of the Firebird

Cry of the Firebird

Amy Kuivalainen. BHC, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-64397-189-6

Introducing the Firebird Faerie Tales series, Kuivalainen (The Immortal City) skillfully blends Russian and Finnish folklore into a delightfully whimsical urban fantasy. In Finland, 27-year-old Anya is grieving the death of her grandfather Eikki when she meets Tuoni, the God of Death, who reveals that Eikki was a shaman who guarded the gateway to Skazki, the land of heroes and myth. With Eikki gone, Anya must take on his role, and she has only six months to master the powerful magic she inherited from her ancestors and stop the forces of Darkness coming through the gateway. Helping her is Yvan, who shares his spirit with a firebird, while leading the Darkness is Visilli, Yvan’s vengeful brother, who hopes to capture both Anya and the firebird’s magic to use in a war with the Illumination, guardians of light. As the pragmatic Anya gathers her allies—Trajan, her sworn bodyguard who feeds on the dead; Izrayl, a shape-shifting wolf; and twin monster hunters Katya and Aleksandra—Kuivalainen breathes fresh life into fairy tale characters like Baba Yaga, and fantasy staples like wizards and dragons. With its masterful combination of richly detailed scene setting, humor, romance, quirky characters, and supernatural conflict, this is a story to be relished. (Oct.)