Magpie's Song by Allison Pang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a great surprise! I came into reading this blind and came out seeing wonders. The world-building is a true delight, having a feel of Sanderson's old Mistborn, a touch of hardcore steampunk, but most of all: pure and distilled fantasy dystopia.
There's a lot of story going on and what's more, Pang's writing at the plain-beauty level is something to behold. I'm not just talking about the repurposed nursery rhymes, either. I'm talking about the perfectly placed and minimal placement of pure poetry right in the text where it would have the very best impact. I was a bit awed.
Make no mistake, this is a pretty epic fantasy not in terms of battles and such, but it was a core YA that centered on thieves. Magpie and Sparrow are best friends and all the downtrodden MoonChildren are at the core of a huge piece of deception and prejudice that will soon become, (I do believe,) the main story arc of the rest of the series.
There's plenty of mystery to go around, too, but it's the details and the imaginings that make this book so beautiful. There's plenty of core story elements that will be familiar to everyone, of course, but how Pang pulls it off speaks more to some serious skill than any other author's half-hearted attempts. :) This is the real stuff.
I am going to be following this series with GREAT anticipation. I can't wait to see more of this craft. :)
Oh, and thanks to NetGalley for this ARC! I love being surprised like this!
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