By Max Gladstone
Tor, $25.99, 347 pages
Someone has sabotaged Bright Mirror Reservoir, and Red King Consolidated sends risk manager Caleb Altemoc to investigate. Water is a precious commodity and with Bright Mirror down, the sixteen million citizens of Dresediel Lex will die. At Bright Mirror Caleb meets Mal, and the two begin a cat and mouse chase. The stakes grow higher when rebels smuggle an old god into the city and destroy North Station and Caleb’s father – the last of the old priests – is blamed. Unraveling a plot to wake up the Twin Serpents from their underground slumber Caleb is running out of time with sixteen million souls in his hands.
“Obsidian isn’t porous, you know. It’s not physically possible for sacrificial blood to have colored that altar. Your gods – our gods, I suppose I should say, or the Quechal gods – made this possible: their hunger pulled blood into the glass, stained it like coffee stains teeth.”
Two Serpents Rise is an urban fantasy rich with Aztec influence. Max Gladstone doesn’t coddle the reader, instead tossing them right into the middle of the world; some readers may find this overwhelming and others, exhilarating. This story is full of unique characters, political and theological discussion, and always the hint of danger. Two Serpents Rise is a rich and colorful novel, perfect for fans of urban fantasy and a perfect book for readers looking for something a bit more exotic than usual.
Reviewed by Whitney Smyth