The quietly post-post-apocalyptic setting here is rich and novel enough that it’s always interesting to get more information on, say, the way the evil telepathic guns are kept stockpiled away, or the Inner Speech that Kyra and her fellow Markswomen use to control the minds of others, or the way Marksman Rustan finds out that his abilities have been misused. The romance between our two leads feels a bit pro forma at times, but it does make a certain amount of sense that two young people mostly kept in isolation might rush into things. The plot has a real sense of stakes, with our protagonist not feeling totally safe even when her mentor is alive, and moves with a brisk sense of urgency, making for a promising and compelling debut.

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman of the Order of Kali, formed after the Great War to control the telepathic katari daggers and meant to keep order so that the world can survive. Aside from trying to forget her vendetta against the rogue clan who killed her family, her path in life seems set. But then her mentor, the head of her order, dies and the immensely powerful and dangerous Tamsyn takes over, with unknown plots that endanger both Kyra and the world. Fleeing through the mysterious world-spanning Doors, she finds herself somewhere she thought she’d never be; in the desert with the outcast Order of Khur, the only order of Marksmen that exists. She will have to learn from them, from her dead mentor and from the Doors if she hopes to live through the confrontation with Tamsyn that is swiftly approaching. (HARPER VOYAGER, Jan., 384 pp., $15.99)
Reviewed by: 
Ian Mathers