Writing: 4/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 5/5
A troubled 16 year old, a rock star whose death 40 years before was greatly exaggerated, a young man who can see into the spirit world, but just wants to leave the rez and see the world, and a cast of ma’inawo — the “cousins” who cross freely between the spirit world and that of the five fingered beings — these are some of the characters that populate DeLint’s delightful urban fantasy.
I love DeLint’s work — he’s written over 70 adult and young adult novels, and I’ve probably read about 40. These are NOTHING like your traditional fantasy works. They take place in the here and now (no kings, knights, or medieval settings; no long battles) and are about community, relationships, and healing. There is very little violence, and what there is is always presented in a nuanced way that seeks to understand the source and the path to healing of the person perpetrating the violence. He describes a world and community where individuals still care about trying to be good people and learning what that means for them.
DeLint has always had wonderfully balanced genders and plenty of characters who are outside any sense of a “norm” and yet are fully accepted. There is no agenda of oppression, anger, or conflict — the goal is to seek understanding, promote justice, and find a place in the world. It’s kind of the best of two of my favorite reading worlds — escape and a chance to learn more about being human.