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Genre: Fantasy, General Fantasy
This is a potentially fascinating new series. Brenda is a likable and engaging protagonist, and her navigation of new situations is believable and sure-footed. But the story lacks a certain oomph, and Lindskold's prose, while workmanlike and competent, is overly talkative in places and often intrudes on the narrative.
Brenda Morris knows there's only one Earth and that magic doesn't exist -- until she witnesses the results of a magical attack on her father and one of his associates. Assisted by family friends old and new, Brenda soon learns of her ancestors, the ones who lived in a world of smoke and shadow.
Exiled to Earth about 75 years ago, the Thirteen Orphans hid their magic in the game of mah-jongg and aligned themselves with the various animals of the Chinese zodiac, each exemplifying the traits of their chosen sign. Only a few orphans remain unaffected by the attacks to stand against their enemies, but stand they will, and Brenda with them. (Tor, Nov., 368 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed By: Natalie A. Luhrs
Published: November 2008