4 out of 5 stars.
“But the memory of my sister’s bones, cracked and bloody in the moonlight, haunts me still.” That line right there at the beginning of the book gave me shivers. So awesome. It also sets the tone of the book.
The world created by Simner is a post-apocalyptic one that was brought about by a war with faeries that left our world dangerously infested with magic, and theirs a barren wasteland of ash. Liza, our protagonist, has always been taught how deadly magic can be. Her baby sister was left out for the faeries after she was born showing signs of magic and ended up devoured by animals. Humans struggle to exist in a world where the trees can eat someone whole and technology has been decimated by war. When Liza starts showing signs of magical visions, she flees into the unforgiving wilderness to save her town from herself.
This is a blend of science fiction dystopia and fairytales that works very well. The problem is that the book is waaaayyyy too short. The characters do not grow very much, but that may just be a result of having less than 250 pages of large text in which to do so. I found the descriptions of just about everything too brief. I would have loved more travel time across an America shaped by war and magic at the same time. We did not run into enough inhabitants, just two towns with opposing philosophies about how to treat magic. My experience of this text was wonderful while it lasted, it just did not last very long. Off to find the sequel!