cover image Tread of Angels

Tread of Angels

Rebecca Roanhorse. Saga, $22.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-982166-18-2

Skillfully blending a noir atmosphere with western tropes and biblical mythology, bestseller Roanhorse (Fevered Star) crafts an immersive historical fantasy centered on ambition, privilege, and marginalization. In the Colorado town of Goetia, in an alternate old west with an almost steampunk vibe, miners extract the all-purpose element of divinity from the long-dead corpse of the angel Abaddon. The Elect, descendants of angels, exploit and look down upon the Fallen, descendants of demons, while the Virtue Orders enforce holy justice. The flawed and fascinating heroine, half-Fallen, half-Elect Celeste Semyaza, ekes out a living as a card dealer in a local gambling den, where her sister, Mariel, headlines as a singer. When Mariel is arrested on suspicion of murdering a Virtue, Celeste will do everything in her power to prove her sister innocent—even accept the help of her former lover, the demon Abraxas. While investigating, Celeste stumbles across the town’s dark secret, and must reconsider her own priorities and future plans, as well as her relationships with those she cares for. The mystery plot is solidly entertaining and suits the atmosphere, but it remains fairly basic—even predictable—to the end. Instead, the worldbuilding is the real star here; readers will hope for a chance to explore it further in future outings. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (Nov.)