California Bones – Urban Fantasy –
I bought this after I met the author at the San Diego Comic Con panel on Urban Fantasy. I had been thinking of reading it for a couple of weeks, and actually meeting the author and getting his autograph pushed me to get a “hardcopy” rather than a digital version.
So this is basically a heist novel, albeit a very unusual one. Takes place in an alternate version of California.
In this California, magic is carried in the bones of ancient animals – mastodons, griffins, teratorns, eocorns, monocerus….animals both real, extinct and…magical. Osteomancers obtain the magic from these bones by eating them or by distilling their essences and eating or drinking these. Some osteomancers also gain power by killing and eating their rival osteomancers – as well as any humans with any power. Yum!
The story is centered around Southern California (mostly what we would call “Los Angeles”) there are no cars – only boats and canals. It would appear that sea level rise has been an issue for a long time here. Interesting to note that other important and powerful sorcerers in the story include “Disney” and “Mulholland” – the latter an ancient water mage who controls the water for California.
Power is controlled by “Heirarch” – the most powerful and ruthless of all osteomancers. When he destroys his rivals, he eats them. Like all evil overlords, he maintains an massive underground lair – in his case an Ossuary which holds a massive collections of bodies, bones and magical components.
Our hero – Daniel – was the child of a very powerful osteomancer who was killed and eaten by the Heirarch when Daniel was a child. He managed to escape after hearing the Heirarch eat his father and lives by his wits and his excellent skills as a very talented rogue osteomancer. He is a very capable and creative thief.
As in most heist stories – our hero is tempted by the “big payoff” – Daniel gets an insider tip on how he might be able to break into the (unbreakable) Ossuary – which enables him to exact revenge, regain a relic from his childhood and hopefully make the big payoff. So he gets the team together and hijinks ensue.
The heist tale is engaging, the characters are likeable (kind of reminded me of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” team ) and there are good plot twists.
Looks like there could be a set up for a sequel – I will keep my eyes open!