California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout

 

FantasyCalifornia Bones by Greg Van EekhoutWhen he was six, his father had him eat his first piece of bone. When he was 12, he was there when his father was murdered and another magician started eating him. He escaped before he was caught, too. He knew if he was found the Hierarch of Southern California will have him killed. He lived with his rogue “uncle” and joined the gang of young thieves. He finally broke away from Otis and went on his own. Ten years after his father’s death, he lives in the shadows of Los Angeles using his magic for petty theft and grifts. Daniel Blackland wants to get out of the Kingdom of Southern California and go straight.

Otis pulls Daniel back into the ring with a tempting offer. Only Daniel has the potential of breaking into the Hierarch’s castle to retrieve his father’s sword and take out the magical riches hidden away there. Daniel can’t do it alone, though. He’s a good thief and his magic is decent but this job requires more. He gathers his friends with their special powers as well. Otis provides one more team member, a woman who is a scientist in the Hierarch’s underground labs.

The crew works out an elaborate plan that uses everyone’s skill and knowledge. Some of them might not survive the job. If Daniel is caught, the Hierarch’s vendetta against his father would be complete. If they succeed, they could topple the Hierarch and release much of the magic hidden in the depths of Los Angeles.

Osteomancy is magic gained through eating bones of other magical creatures. The flesh is useful as well, giving the osteomancer enhanced powers. The Hierarch, the most powerful osteomancer, has ruled Southern California since the early 20th century. There’s an Inner Circle of extremely strong osteomancers, then they work down. Since bones are finite, the resources are drying up. Osteomancers like Daniel can’t afford real products any more.

Greg Van Eekhout has developed a fantasy world that took our world and twisted it into something believable and eerie. Instead of roadways, Southern California was flooded and is lined with canals. That adds an environmental problem since the area is naturally desert land. The land has been stripped of most of its natural resources.

The setting of California Bones is an alternate world that developed much like the one we know. Disneyland is still the happiest place on Earth, but that’s because sorcerer Disney has a magic happy dust that gets into all the visitors of the park. Hollywood exists but is run by sorcerers. Movies haven’t caught on to any great extent. Cities and locations match up throughout the California region.

California Bones is a quick paced novel that introduces an intriguing type of sorcery. Van Eekhout’s description pulls the reader in from the startling beginning. Although marketed as an adult urban fantasy, it has the feel of a young adult novel. By the end, Daniel has learned much more about osteomancy than he would have imagined.

A first-rate book, California Bones is the beginning of an imaginative urban fantasy trilogy.

Notice: Fantasy violence

More books by Greg van Eekhout

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