Foul Days

Tor. (Witch’s Compendium of Monsters, Bk. 1). Jun. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9781250877314. pap. $17.99. FANTASY
DEBUT In Dimova’s energetic, witty debut, she weaves a world that feels familiar yet singular out of Slavic folklore. Kosara is a witch who has holed up in a pub to wait out the “foul days,” the first days of the year, during which monsters are allowed to run rampant in her city of Chernograd, which has been walled off from the outside world to keep the monsters in. The arrival of Kosara’s epically bad ex, the Zmey, Tsar of Monsters, forces her to do the unthinkable—give up her shadow, the source of her power, and flee across the wall to Belograd. On a mission to get her shadow back before she is consumed by the shadow sickness, Kosara finds herself saddled with a suspiciously noble police officer sidekick. Back in Chernograd, Kosara begrudgingly uses the duo’s combined talents to craft a plan for retrieving her shadow. This twisty, fast-paced fantasy adventure feels like what would happen if Delilah S. Dawson and Naomi Novik teamed up to rewrite The Witcher.
VERDICT Fans of folklore-infused fantasy with a romantic subplot and sassy, independent main characters will blissfully devour the coming duology.
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