Tor. Oct. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9780765335296. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466821484. SF
OrangeReviewStarValente's highly anticipated first full-length novel for adults in several years (since Deathless) channels a similar spirit to her 2015 novella, Speak Easy, in its art deco-era influence and mix of surrealism and fantasy. Here she explores an alternate world in which humanity began space explorations in the 19th century and found new homes across the solar system. By the 1930s, Luna has become the new Hollywood, and humans of all types subsist on callowhale milk from the seas of Venus, yet the human fascination with movie stars is just as strong as it is today. The daughter of a famous filmmaker, Severin has been in the limelight from the day she was left on her father's doorstep, which makes her disappearance on a trip to Venus to make a documentary the event of the year.
VERDICT Valente employs a variety of writing styles, from scripts and diaries to newspaper articles and interviews, to tell Severin's story, moving back and forth across time and character viewpoints. The result is a complex and multilayered tale that exists in a fully realized alternate and fantastic solar system. Valente has won several literary awards, and this work of art is likely to cement her place as a major voice in modern sf and fantasy.
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