Some 60 years before The House of Shattered Wings, this story follows Huyen, formerly known as Heloise, as she tries to make her life during wartime without the support of her former House and the magical protection of the Fallen. She escapes looters, rescues one of the Fallen, builds camp at the banks of river Seine in Paris, looses a friend to the deadly river, receives a dangerous magical drug as a gift, meets a mysterious woman, meets again the Fallen that she rescued. Will she go back to safety and comfort when those elementary needs have a price tag attached?
I’ve read a couple of stories by Bodard – e.g. some Space Opera stories from her Xuya series, or a SF Fantasy story. This is the first time for a fantasy story from her. I loved the atmosphere of a magical wasted future Paris during wartimes, the interesting background of Houses, Fallen, the impersonated river Seine. Most of all, I loved the character of Huyen, the hardships and decisions she has to face. It was all a bit mysterious and tough to understand – but this is far better than being obvious and shallow. I hope that the background leaves enough to be found out in her novel – one Fallen Asmodeus makes a reappearance there.