I reviewed this earlier in the month on Goodreads, before I had decided when or if to post reviews here. Marling has been one of my favorite indie finds this year, so I decided not to let Fox Bride pass without a review.
The second story of Hiresha the enchantress lives up to its predecessor and then some.
This book takes us to a new city, Oasis, the capital of the empire that contains the Enchantresses’ academy.
While attending a party there, Hiresha is singled out by the Golden Scoundrel, an ancient god/king believed reincarnated into the body of a fennec fox. Due to his attentions, she is told she must marry him.
Hiresha’s attempts to escape this fate are complicated by a vindictive theft plot against the priests and the fennec. In addition, Tethiel the Lord of the Feast is also in the city, and believes they have a Soultrapper to contend with.
I felt that this book was better than the first (which I also enjoyed) due in large part to the maturation of Hiresha’s character. Her interactions with Maid Janny come off more as affectionate exasperation than Brood of Bones‘ prudish peevishness. She treats her Spellsword as a person more often than before. She’s far less concerned with appearances and propriety than she was in BoB as well.
As well as her personal growth, the enchantress takes her fate in her own hands a bit more this time around. I won’t spoil it, but it does include a new wrinkle in the use of her powers that I felt was well done.
The people and city of Oasis are an excellent example of taking a real world environment and modifying it for your own purposes, and making it truly complex instead of a pale veneer of stereotypes.
An excellent sophomore outing from Marling. I can’t wait to see what’s next.