Shadows of the Short Days

Gollancz. May 2020. 528p. ISBN 9781789094497. $24.99. FANTASY
DEBUT Before the apocalyptic tragedy happened to the Huldufolk, their world was perfect. But now the Crown has taken over Hrimland (Iceland) and the Huldefolk have dispersed, only a few remaining. Garun is a “Blendingur” owing to her mix of human and Huldufolk ancestry. Not really fitting in anywhere, she runs away to Reykjavik. She persuades a farmer going to market to smuggle her into the walled city since she lacks the necessary papers. Anxious to win rights for her kind and the Huldufolk, she meets young Saemundur, who is studying Galdur, spoken magic, at the university. He is eventually expelled for his deviations from the norm, which the faculty fear will let loose demons. After a demonstration that led to many deaths, Garun retreats to the Lost Downtown as the crown and local police go after more and more nonhumans. Estranged from Garun, Saemundur attempts to bring forth demons.
VERDICT In this first of a new series, Vihjálmsson’s well-developed future world will interest fantasy fans with a taste for dystopia, especially if they’re up for learning new vocabulary.

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