I had the privilege of meeting Eva L. Elasigue at this year’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards Weekend (which I attended with several other members of Black Gate‘s Chicago crew, including John O’Neill). When she described her novel Fire on All Sides to me, it sounded magical. Well, you had better believe that it will lead you on a dazzling journey. The novel, which marks the beginning of a series titled Bones of Starlight, centers around multiple plot threads.
The first focuses on a detective named Derringer. He falls for the whimsical Karma Ilacqua, whom he meets while delivering an important parcel to her hotel room. Tantalizing romance ensues. You’re with the couple all the way until misfortune rears its ugly head.
The same goes for the second story, which centers around the enchanting Princess Soleil. She and her parents and siblings, all members of the Imperium, eagerly await the Pyrean Midsummer. The duty of performing a staggeringly beautiful aria to mark the occasion falls on Soleil. But before the event begins, the Princess falls into a mysterious coma. Even after the royal family summons the help of the Aquarii, a race of musical (and tentacle-armed) beings, a cure remains elusive.
As for the characters in the third story, their cause is even more urgent: to save one another from imminent peril. Wendel Harper, the pilot of the ship Drift 9, rescues a brave boy named Toller from a burning city. Through hell and back, they stay glued to one another and become family aboard the mighty ship.
Though Derringer and Ilacqua’s story drifts on its own island of wonder, the stories that follow become intertwined with the help of a common villain. Raev Sturlusson, a criminal mastermind with the grinning face of a rodent, is hellbent on avenging the death of his father. He destroys all opposition in his path, with varying degrees of cruelty.
It’s difficult to find a place in your heart for Sturlusson. However, when it comes to the other characters, make room. I remember my conversations with Ms. Elasigue fondly. I remember thinking how warm and thoughtful she was. That same warmth radiates through her goodhearted characters, as does a bona fide enchantment with life.
On the subject of enchantment, I distinctly remember Ms. Elasigue and I sharing our love of the Godmother of Science Fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s an extravagant claim, but I feel confident in saying that Ms. Elasigue’s writing has the same beauty as the author of The Left Hand of Darkness. As you read this captivating novel, you’ll find yourself drifting over a sparkling current of intergalactic fairy dust.
And it’s so easy to imagine Ms. Elasigue’s world. You don’t have to tax your brain to understand the nuances of her universe. She makes the act of envisioning a universe, giving it life on paper, and making it accessible to her readers seem like a simple feat.
Though her writing charmed me with its luminous quality, much like Le Guin’s, Ms. Elasigue has her own voice. It is miraculous and full of warmth, and one to cherish. This is the first novel in the Bones of Starlight series, so there is more to come. In fact, if you visit Ms. Elasigue’s website, bonesofstarlight.com, you’ll find The Enfolding Abyss, the second book in the series, is forthcoming.
Fire on All Sides was published by Primal Spiral in June 2016. It is 206 pages. The paperback pocket book edition is $12.00. The cover art was painted by Genesis Grey and the title lettering was done by Matthew Krotzer.
Zeta Moore’s last review for us was The Throme of the Erril of Sherril by Patricia A. McKillip. She is exploring work in care for individuals on the autism spectrum, and nerding out when she can.