A.P. Winter, The Boy Who Went Magic (Chicken House UK 978-1910655092, £6.99, tp) June 2017; (Chicken House US 978-1-338-21714-8, $17.99, 279pp, hc) April 2018. Cover by Manuel Sumberac.
Magic is a myth repressed by the government in this rousing middle-grade fantasy, a solid first novel. Some 200 years before, when kings had real power, people believed in magic and the magical land of Ferenor. Bert Rumsey, an orphan raised at Oneiros School, used to dream of those days of mages, knights, ghosts, and adventure, but now he knows better – until a school trip to a museum gets very strange, with voices, visions, and a pirate professor. All of which brings Bert to the unwanted attention of the frightening Prince Vass, a royal obsessed with acquiring magic objects and restoring the rightful power of the monarchy. Bert has no clue what’s going on, but when a new girl turns up he goes with her, pursued by the prince, on an airship voyage in search of magic. Of course they find it, and plenty of adventure along the way. Bert’s a likeable protagonist, in over his head but willing to try, and his adventures provide plenty of thrills. This is a bit young, but has enough twists and marvels to entertain older readers.
Patricia Briggs, Burn Bright (Ace 978-0-425-28131-4, $27.00, 308pp, hc) March 2018. Cover by Daniel Dos Santos.
The fifth novel in the Alpha and Omega series presents a new threat to the werewolves in Aspen Creek. Some people attack a Wildling, one of a number of unstable, mostly ancient wolves living in remote mountain areas, where they’re not likely to hurt anyone if they lose control. The pack is notified, but the leader, Bran, is out of town, and it’s up to his son Charles, the enforcer, and his mate, the omega Anna, to investigate. Talking to the Wildings is difficult, though, and things get dangerous fast. Turns out the attackers have money, spyware, fancy weapons, and even magic – and since the Wildlings are mostly secret, it looks like there’s a traitor in the pack feeding them information. Lots of tense action keeps things thrilling, but fans of the series will be just as intrigued by the Wildlings themselves, and other juicy revelations that pop up, including some about Mercy Thompson. The potential for future complications is huge, but, fortunately, this volume wraps up the current action nicely for now.
Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.
This review and more like it in the May 2018 issue of Locus.