Volume 2 in what will be a quartet, this work is more than just a fantasy novel. What promised in volume one to be a finely wrought and complex tale is propelled into the realm of epic stories that compel a reader to neglect quotidian matters in favor of immersion in the narrative. I am put in mind of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles which caused me to go AWOL from the world while I burrowed through them at lightning speed. I am by nature a slow reader, but to finish a five-hundred-plus page book in three days happens rarely, in my experience. It was thus with this one.

The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos, translated by Hildegarde Serle
ON SALE MAY 7, 2019
Europa Editions

There’s magic here, but the true magic is in the writing and translation. The narrative rockets with deceptive ease through the eerie landscape of Citiceleste, the city/ship that dominates the book. The invisibility of effort in the prose is refreshing as is the flawless translation. This work is magnificent for the facility with the languages that comprise it. It is in English from the French.

The hallways, lifts, dungeons, sculleries, secret passages and forgotten depths of this fabricated world are fraught with hazard, deftly navigated by Olivia, the entirely charming and engaging protagonist. She is an alien here, having been brought up in another floating entity far away, and with an entirely different culture. Her talent, the ability to “read” objects by envisioning the actions of the individual who last touched them, has thrust her into an unwanted betrothal to a man who seems to have no other object than his own advancement to power. How she manages to avoid peril, even to the risk of her life, is fascinating to watch. Olivia is courageous in a way we envy and admire. The more remarkable since the situations are so fantastic yet the character seems so real. It is a pleasure to watch her learn her way, avoid pitfalls and prosper in spite of the formidable obstacles placed in her way.

I eagerly await the further adventures of this character, whom I predict will become a classic, much beloved citizen of the literary landscape. I highly recommend it to lovers of fantasy, especially those who have wearied of the “feisty dwarf, magic sword, enchanted jewel” variety (no disrespect, just sayin’). Fresh and inventive, it explores new territory in the genre that is gratefully welcomed by this reader.

Shelf Talker: Second in what I predict will become a beloved quartet of books the explores new frontiers in the fantasy genre. A plucky heroine sure to become a favorite, magic of a new and interesting variety and plenty of dire peril combine to keep the reader’s pulse rate high.