cover image City of Dancing Gargoyles

City of Dancing Gargoyles

Tara Campbell. Santa Fe Writers Project, $15.95 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-951631-39-0

In this wild postapocalyptic outing from Campbell (Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection), the first characters readers meet are E and M, two sentient gargoyles who, due to covert government testing, have come to life, liberating them from the church on which they were carved to explore the bizarre future cities of the U.S. Though there are human characters as well—among them researchers cataloging all the unusual happenings and questioning the root cause of them, as well as a mother-daughter pair who join up as traveling companions to the gargoyles, seeking a more hospitable home—the narrative’s most captivating and unusual element is the transformation of cities into fantastical and unpredictable places. Among them are the City of Glaring Chocolates, where fancy chocolates glower at anyone who buys them, knowing they are about to be consumed, and the City of Fretting Books, in which sentient texts worry about their readability and appeal to the point of constantly rewriting each other. Though readers may be skeptical of the conceit at first, Campbell’s unfettered imagination is sure to win them over. Quirky and occasionally mystifying, this nevertheless offers plenty to entertain. (Sept.)