The Shadow Crosser, by J.C. Cervantes – In the final book in this series, Zane Obispo and his companions are trying to prevent a takeover attempt by the gods Ixkik and Camazotz. It starts with Zane hunting the last remaining godborns, children of the Mayan gods who have supernatural abilities, with help from a demon who betrays him. The last two are children of Ixtab, the ruler of Xibalba. With help from a magical calendar that controls time, our heroes learn that the gods have been taken to 1987, and they have to find a way to go back and rescue them. There’s also some development in the relationship between Zane and Brooks. I’m going to have to see how well the portrayals of some of the gods in this series fit with what we know of the actual mythology. I’m pretty sure Pacific, the goddess of time, was an original creation of Cervantes, the explanation given being that she was erased from records. Based on her appearance, though, she might be one of the jaguar goddesses whose names are no longer known.
The Rose and the Ring, by William Makepeace Thackeray – This is a sort of satirical fairy tale, recommended to be presented as a Christmas pantomime. It’s centered around the royal families of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary, and the effects of a rose and ring given by a fairy that make their bearers irresistible. While I didn’t find it laugh-out-loud funny, it was amusing enough, and I noticed a few types of humor at play. One prominent one was the preponderance of jokey names, often giving an uncanny description of a character (Lady Gruffanuff, Count Kutzoff Hedzoff) or being based on food. Noble families in Crim Tartary include Spinachi, Broccoli, Articiocci, and Sauerkraut. While the version I read didn’t include Thackeray’s illustrations, I was able to find them on the Library of Congress site. Another recurring joke is that the noble, stately descriptions of the royals don’t match the drawings of them, which are cartoonish caricatures.
Tristan Strong Destroys the World, by Kwame Mbalia – Tristan returns to Alke, the world where African gods live alongside African-American folk heroes, when his grandmother is kidnapped by someone called the Shamble Man. With Anansi living in his phone and Gum Baby once again helping him out, he also joins forces with Keelboat Annie, who’s pretty cool. He also encounters ghostly Plat-eyes, a Boo Hag, and a rapping vulture. Tristan ends up having to save the world of stories from total destruction. Again, I should probably look a little more into some of the mythology referenced in the book.
One Salt Sea, by Seanan McGuire – This was the next one I had to read in the October Daye series, but the library system didn’t have it, so I bought a Kindle copy. The reason I didn’t do that a while back was that it was cheaper to buy it in paperback (at least on Amazon), but I’m trying to purchase less physical books, so I just went ahead. There are rumblings of war when the sons of a mermaid duchess are kidnapped, and Toby has to try to find out who did it so she can prevent it. She’s assisted by the Luidaeg and the King of Cats. The development of McGuire’s fairy world is quite interesting, and this one adds an undersea duchy to the mix. I must say the ending is sad, though.