Tor, Aug 2009, $24.95
Up until recently, college student Brenda Morris had no idea that The Land of Smoke and Sacrifice existed. She has since learned a lot about the fact that Chinese myths were turned into this alternate earth several millennium ago and more stunningly her ancestors crossed over from this place (see THIRTEEN ORPHANS). However the greatest shock is she knows she has some of the powers of the Zodiac Rat; her Aunt Pearl is the Dragon; and her compatriot in training is the Dog. .
The few surviving Exiles and their descendants have a world crisis as war has ignited inside the Land and threaten to spill over to the earth. The Thirteen Orphans Guardians between worlds are the only ones who can prevent a calamity of pandemic proportions. . However four of them are trapped on this side leaving it to the others to build the Nine Gates and rescue their Guardian comrades in arms.
The second Morris urban fantasy is an exhilarating thriller based on the Chinese Zodiac that will thrill fans who relish elaborate but somewhat convoluted insight on Chinese mythology; at times the level of minutiae detracts from the otherwise enjoyable plot. The protagonists confront Herculean level challenges that seem impossible for them to succeed. These magical battles make for a fun paradox as the reader wonders how the magnificent nine can win the day against adversaries that if they defeat them they endanger two worlds but if they lose they endanger two worlds.