The Second Bell

Angry Robot. Mar. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780857668905. pap. $14.99. FANTASY
DEBUT Miriat must make the potentially fatal decision of forced self-banishment for herself and her deformed daughter, Salka. While attempting to survive in a cruel wilderness, she is reluctantly accepted into a tribe of other banished individuals who know all too well of her daughter’s condition. Fear and respect for the ways of the supernatural lead this pragmatic group to rule harshly while attempting to survive in isolation. Will their superstitions be tried and shown to be erroneous, or will these two new residents threaten to shred their insensitive culture?
VERDICT Houston projects her background of Polish mythologies and dark fairy tales onto this fanciful debut. Redemption, sacrifice, and generosity underpin this story about mother-and-daughter relationships. Fans of mythical yarns and medieval fantasies will enjoy this easy-to-read fable.
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