This book is dark, beautiful, mysterious, and intelligent. Sometimes when I read fantasy fiction I find that the author relies heavily on the fact that it's fantasy fiction and uses it as a crutch, letting the quality of the writing slide. Not so in Windling's case. I have never read anything of hers before, so this was a first for me. The characters are well-developed and the storyline offers enough information on each of them to be engaged with their roles without being bored in the process. I am an artist and a writer, and this book appealed immensely to my poetic side. I recommend this for anyone who is looking for a darker side of fantasy, while being rooted in the present.
Every description of this book would suggest to me that I would not like it. Urban fantasy, Arizona desert locale, shapeshifters... I am happy to say that this is a literate book, steeped in myth, art, poetry, and spirituality. The characters are interesting enough but their musings about the nature of land, animal, plant and spirit open gateways to thoughts surreal or alternative. There is a plot, but if you don't enjoy the journey, you won't be satisfied with the destination.
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