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The Engine's Child

Best Seller
The Engine's Child by Holly Phillips
Nov 25, 2008 | ISBN 9780345509512

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  • Nov 25, 2008 | ISBN 9780345509512

    Available from:

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"With its rich prose and vivid imagery, Engine’s Child is a great fusion of literary fantasy and immersive adventure." — Hal Duncan

This richly complex tale from the author of The Burning Girl deftly encapsulates an entire culture’s frictions and fractures in the loyalties of one young woman. Moth seeks to climb out of the Tidal slums where she’d been abandoned without betraying her Tidal friends, her secret mother, her lover, or her bond with the invisible powers of her world. Beneath the surface of a seemingly stable, if compressed, island civilization, connections and tensions link the Society of Doors, an outlaw organization looking to return to the heaven of the past; Lady Vashmarna’s scientific idealists seeking to expand limited resources; a ruler clinging to the failing status quo, and the Tidal have-nots coping with an explosive brew of fear, faith, and rumor. Sharp-edged personalities and complicated personal relationship among the characters prevent Phillips’s tale from degenerating into allegory. Her lush prose and dark fantasy cityscape will appeal to fans of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station and Sarah Monette’s Melusine, but her manipulative, scarred, sexual, unapologetic antiheroine recalls Elizabeth Bear or Melissa Scott. For fantasy collections where those authors circulate. –Library Journal, Meredith Schwartz, New York

“ Open up the new novel by Holly Phillips, ‘The Engine’s Child’, and your reading experience will sweep away any notion of genre or concept.Reading Phillips’ novel provides layers of pleasure; the immediacy of her prose and the joy of unpacking her world, the involving skeins of plot and peril and unfolding understanding of her conceptual framework. ‘The Engine’s Child’ suggests that we’ve stepped past the boundaries of genre and into literature that knows no boundaries. Phillips writes with a purity of conviction that replaces the reader’s world with her creation. And she tells one hell of a good story in the process. It’s not all shadings and subtlety. Blood is spilled as the best-laid plans crash up against the novel’s carefully crafted reality.”
– The Agony Column

“Phillips writes dark fantasy mostly with the aura of heroic fantasy, aiming to awe far more than to frighten–and succeeding, awesomely.”
–Booklist (starred review), on Holly Phillips’s In the Palace of Repose

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