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And, interestingly, she has a clearly multi-racial (and distinctly sexy) love interest for her narrator/protagonist, the magic-user Allison "Allie" Beckstrom.Allie is a "Hound," tracking down the people who illegally abuse magic.Everyone knows about, but does not care to discuss, an ancestral white-settler atrocity that eliminated most of the Native Americans.But no one knows Astrid's father was a sorcerer, who used swapmeet finds to control the potent magic which is literally pooled under the surface of Indigo Springs.Add the three very sharply drawn young lovers in the romantic triangle, and you have a fine novel that successfully wraps up its storyline, yet offers the possibility of an equally intriguing sequel.While Devon Monk's third novel, , keeps the action on purely urban ground (the Northwest's twin cities of Portland and Vancouver), she, too, eschews the nonhuman characters for the deeply human.
In fact, I suspect he's established a new high-water mark in alienated-guy SF, because his male leads are often so self-destructively estranged from themselves and others (especially women), so thoroughly terrified of life and simple human connection (especially as symbolized by women), that they damn near achieve an apotheosis of self-abnegation.
That means characters spend a lot of time putting uncomfortable masks on and off, slipping in and out of the clumsy alt.
Victorian equivalent of airlocks, and slogging through the muddy, murky streets. People who don't find these details slowing will enjoy the novel; and people annoyed by the oft-monoracial nature of steampunk will find an author who has realized people of color aren't a product of the post-Edwardian era.
In short, if you're tired of likeable, sympathetic, relatively uncomplicated characters, and are aching for troubled, troubling, entirely believable characters who frequently descend to being bastards, shits, and, sometimes, even murderers, then you should order Jack Skillingstead's by overnight express.
Characterization is the strongest of Skillingstead's many strong points.
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And no one knows Astrid has inherited his talent, with enough strength to literally remake the world.