Friday, November 18, 2022

Short Fiction Friday: Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse

When Celeste's beloved sister, Mariel, is accused of murder, she's willing to do absolutely anything to make sure her name is cleared. 

Celeste and Mariel are both Fallen. But Celeste can pass as one of the Elect. So much so that her father separated the two, taking Celeste with him to live as one of the privileged while Mariel and her mother were relegated to the Drench. 

And Celeste swore she would never abandon Mariel again. So even though that means aligning herself with the one demon she swore she'd never see again. And even though it means risking her own soul with the Order of Archangels, Celeste agrees to become Mariel's advocate in her case. And she's decided to take it one further and find the real killer, thereby ensuring her sister's freedom. 

But investigating a murder in Goetia, much less the murder of one of the Virtues, is no easy task. And Celeste is about to learn just how little she truly knows her own sister.

It's Friday! (Finally!) 

I haven't been doing much leisure reading of late because I've been working to catch up on client projects. But I have a stack of designated one sitting reads that I've been plumbing for relaxing reading. And I've been taking advantage of audiobooks as well. 

In the case of Tread of Angels, it's both short (just about 200 pages) AND I have the audio from Libro.fm. Add to that the fact that it's Indigenous Heritage Month and that the book released this week, and it immediately made the tippy top of my TBR list. 

This is a little book that FEELS bigger. At least in terms of scope and world! 

Roanhorse mirrors real world class and race issues by packing the pages of this book with a world in which descendants of fallen angels are the lower and lesser class. The setting is Victorian meets Western but wholly unique. 

Celeste is a card dealer at the Eden, where her sister is also a performer/singer. It's a gambling house and drinking hole where knife fights and gun shots aren't completely unheard of. And it's there, during a brawl, that Mariel is dragged off as the prime suspect in a murder. 

But the whole thing stinks of privilege and conspiracy! Of course when one of the elite is killed officials would turn an eye to a Fallen. And they have little to no recourse against the powers that be. 

But that's not going to deter Celeste. Nor are the various tests she must figure out how to trick her way through so she doesn't get caught as a Fallen herself. It's a good thing she has an ally of sorts with a local demon lord! (Not that she really wants to ask for his help.)

This book is tiny but mighty! My only real complaint: I want more of Goetia! Which surprised me a little considering I'd thought I was over anything pertaining to fallen angels. Just goes to show you that a great story can pull you in no matter what!

Shout out to Dion Graham who narrates the audio. He is a delight to listen to! (The audio clocks in at 4 hours 25 minutes.)

Tread of Angels is out now from Saga! Order a copy from Bookshop.org!

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