Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments

Tor. (Edinburgh Nights, Bk. 2). Apr. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781250767790. $29.99. FANTASY
Huchu’s (Hairdresser of Harare) second “Edinburgh Nights” novel (following the tumultuous The Library of the Dead) finds ghost talker Ropa Moyu in even deeper trouble. She’s broke, unemployed, and indebted to both the Director of the (official) magical society and the leader of the criminal gang that controls Edinburgh. She’s been roped into finding the source of a magical ailment affecting young men who went somewhere they shouldn’t have via astral projection. Meanwhile, her gran is predicting the end of the world and the society’s snobs are relentless in trying to kick her off the tiny foothold she’s gained in scientific magic. It’s all in a season’s work for the intrepid Ropa, however, who is doing everything in her power to learn as much as possible, save whatever she can, and keep her family together—regardless of the cost.
VERDICT Everything rides on the shoulders of young Ropa in this post-apocalyptic, near-future Edinburgh where magic, science, and monarchy all hold equal sway. Ropa, at only 14, carries an adult’s burdens and responsibility with equal parts can-do spirit, stubborn energy, and kicking herself and her friends as necessary. This twisted Edinburgh tries its best to keep her down, but she never stops.
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