I got the pleasure of beta-reading this novella. What a delightful read!
Meet Annie, newest member of High Charity’s resident child gang “The Gophers.” The daughter of a fallen Acolyte, Annie has chosen her own path, one that walks the line between who her poor family wants her to be and who she feels destined to become. Annie sees a different future for herself; one, she believes, empowered by her own free will. But her Ma is keeping secrets from her. When Annie and her best friend Mary are tasked with stealing a magic token from a rival gang member, their friendship breaks and Annie witnesses the arrival of what will become High Charity’s greatest enemy.
This is a solid entry into the fantasy genre, in the spirit of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. What could of been a dry retreading of a trope is upturned and upended by taking on the viewpoint of one of the nameless urchins that populate so many fantasy novels.
The protagonist’s coming of age, which is -far- from over by the end of this book, serves as a wonderful introduction to a portion of a city plunged into deep poverty and gang warfare.
There are just enough mysteries sprinkled in –a mother who, perhaps, committed an unpardonable offense; a caper gone either awry or exactly as planned; a girl who’s willing to risk her soul for survival; an antagonist that may be too familiar for the city at large — that the reader is not only sucked in to a rich setting but also left wanting more.
This leaves me with one thought: when’s the next part of this story coming out?