There are four women who are Mercies: they are essentially a mercy-killing service, travelling their areas and help people have a merciful death when they are ill, old or just want to die.
So the story is quite simple, but it’s beautiful in how simple and straightforward it is. It’s very atmospheric, all forests and rivers, darkness and light. It follows a boy named Vren who is exiled from his home because he’s ‘shadowed’ which basically means he has some sort of power.
So, basically, djinns are real, they have their own politics and rules and also power. They have human emissaries who deal with their earthly affairs (which sometimes is procuring human things as they don’t sully themselves with money. The novel revolves around three main people: Kaikobad, Indeled and Rais.
So, it’s the world as we know it, but suddenly people start losing their shadows (yes, physics etc, just go with it). But then they start losing their memories. And because they can’t remember things, they start to misremember things into reality. Like alligators that are the size of cruise ships, guns that fire lightening, or that you can’t actually talk to animals.
You know when you’re reading a book and it feels like the perfect book you could be reading at that particular time? I think this was the perfect book for this holiday. Maybe it would have been perfect no matter what the time or place, but for some reason I had some resonance with the universe to be utterly tickled by a novel
The world and tasks are absurd, but no more so than any other fantasy novel. It almost feels like Mark Bowsher is poking fun at the grand fantasy tradition (but in a loving way).
I don’t like the word ‘fresh’ but perhaps that’s a good way of describing it. It’s just different than a lot of fantasy/urban fantasy which works really well in its favour.