The first in a new series, this solidly written novel starts off with a bang,
but gets mired in the exhaustively detailed world-building, an Elliott
hallmark. With frequent shifts in
perspective, it's hard to become absorbed in the tale, particularly
in the first half when it's unclear
how the various threads will be
woven together.

Reeve Joss discovers, to his dismay, that the Guardians who are supposed to be protecting his homeland from dark forces are inexplicably dead. This kicks off a cascade of events, mostly unfortunate, that culminates in a battle that will have repercussions for years to come.

Joss, Mai and Anji are fascinating characters who display an inner strength and integrity that is sorely needed in their world if they're to succeed in saving it -- and themselves. (Tor, Oct., 448 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs