Silk Fire

Solaris. Jul. 2022. 475p. ISBN 9781781089767. $24.99. FANTASY
DEBUTIn Ellor’s adult debut (after two YA novels), Koré is a highly desired—and highly despised—bisexual courtesan. His driving desire is to enact revenge on the father who betrayed him, and he will do anything to ensure the man does not claim the throne of the War District of Jadzia. When Koré finds himself in an ancient tomb of a long-thought-dead god, he is given the power of one of the sacred dragons of the city. As other city representatives arrive to the battle for the district, Koré faces other fights: to stay free from anyone who wishes to claim his power and make him a pawn, and the inner turmoil of discovering love for two people, when his previous relationships have only been for sex and power.
VERDICT The driven characters, intriguing premise of a matriarchal society where old magic and new technology coexist, and the plot of long-game political schemes are unfortunately weighed down at times by large info dumps and exposition. The main character is heavily self-critical, and the clarity of motivations can be hard to hold.
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