Cover art by Nekro
I missed the final volume of Aliette de Bodard’s epic of a ruined future Paris, The House of Sundering Flames, when it was released last September. But I suppose that’s one of the advantages of a nationwide lockdown… I can catch up on big reading projects.
I think part of the reason I missed it was because de Bodard switched publishers. The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns were both published in hardcover in the US by Ace… but Ace elected not to release the second volume in paperback, and for the third book de Bodard switched to the JABberwocky Literary Agency. JABberwocky kept the same cover artist, which I appreciate, but they don’t have the marketing reach in the US that Ace does.
Nonetheless, the final volume of the Dominion of the Fallen trilogy got a lot of great press. Here’s a snippet from Liz Bourke’s enthusiastic review at Locus.
On the list of books I can’t recommend highly enough: Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Sundering Flames, the latest – and for now final – novel-length instalment in the series… The powerful, magical Houses of de Bodard’s decayed, post-apocalyptic Paris are at peace, at least for now. House Silverspires, once in the first rank of the powerful, is much diminished; House Hawthorn is still strong, but its internal dynamics have changed since the dragon prince Thuan staked his claim on a true partnership… But the peace of Paris is blown apart when an explosion levels House Harrier, one of the more powerful – and more bigoted – Houses. Emmanuelle, partner and lover of House Silverspires’ head, Selene, is caught in Harrier’s territory, forced to navigate the disaster and a civil war playing out in the ruins…
De Bodard’s prose is precise and elegant, and her characters are compelling and fascinating, even – especially – when they’re making terrible compromises and impossible choices. They’re very human – even the immortal and the dragon prince. Events mount with increasing tension, histories hinted at with terrible implication, until the revelations and resolutions of the climax. This is a clever book, and a nuanced one, and to me it feels like a tour-de-force of storytelling. I deeply enjoyed it, and I recommend it highly.
Aliette’s Dominion of the Fallen is the setting for some of her most acclaimed short fiction, including stories collected in In Morningstar’s Shadow and Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship (both published 2015).
[Click the images for sundering-sized versions.]
Some of the short fiction and collections in the Dominion of the Fallen series
See our coverage of the first two novels in the series here.
The House of Sundering Flames was published by JABberwocky Literary Agency in the US on September 25, 2019, and by Gollancz in the UK. It is 386 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital formats.
See our recent coverage of the best new fantasy series here.