Today’s second Boosting the Signal feature is ALSO YA, this time an urban fantasy by the team of Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins. Jeffrey’s a fellow member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association, with whom I’ll be working at Worldcon this year and cons to come on the effort to sell NIWA books! Jeffrey and Katherine have a bit of a glimpse into the head of Lani, one of their characters who has the pressing problem before her of how to get her friend Megan acclimated–as fast as possible–to the fey world around her. And you gotta bet, urban fantasy involving the fey, set in Seattle, is HIGHLY RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. The authors have kindly provided me a copy of this book. I will be reviewing it.
Lani was curled up on a satyress’s loveseat in a trendy Fremont apartment. She knew it was important to get to sleep, and she soon would, but she had to give her mind at least a few minutes to race around the matters at hand.
The day’s objective was complete, at least. Lani had gotten Megan clear-headed enough and told her everything she could. She’d never thought that she’d be able to, back when she thought Megan was all human. There were Restrictions (that was the best way to explain it to non-Hawaiians), after all. You can’t just out yourself as menehune (or, in Lani’s case, half-menehune) to a civilian. But that was before Lani had discovered her ‘human’ BFF’s estranged father was the Unseelie King.
“So…” Megan had said. “My dad is what, ’80s David Bowie? Glammed up, stealing babies, turning into owls?”
Lani had let the focus go to her people’s perfectly rational objection to owls for a moment before moving on to business, because being teased was better than explaining why she wasn’t laughing at the ‘stealing babies’ line. Megan didn’t have a little brother to think of, and she didn’t know what the Unseelie sidhe were like. There was a reason the menehune had allied centuries ago with the brownies: both were hardworking, orderly folk dealing with a lot of things that weren’t. They made good partners.
Megan didn’t know what anything was like, in Faerie terms, so Lani was grateful this was going as well as it did. Here they were, after all, on a satyress’s couch after being chased by a redcap, and yet no one had been eaten or sexually harassed. Lani could finally introduce Megan to her non-human friends. Kerr was already working Kerr’s brownie magic to keep Megan’s mom from worrying, and while Lani could tell Megan had been confused by Kerr, there’d been no gender-essentialist nonsense said that could embarrass anyone. Megan was really handling it all well for someone who’d claimed pixies didn’t exist this morning.
The question was whether she could handle the task at hand. Much to every engineer’s regret, people indeed did not come with breaking-strain calculations. And they were facing a huge problem.
The Unseelie King had gone missing, probably been imprisoned. This was bad. The Seelie were her people’s allies, but the Unseelie were just as necessary. They just didn’t fulfill needs that were easy to understand or that Lani necessarily wanted to think about much. Of these necessities, the Unseelie King was the most obvious. Without his presence in the right place at the right time, the seasons couldn’t change on the Faerie level. There would be no Autumn, not really. And if Lani had learned anything from Neil deGrasse Tyson, it was that without the balance that the breakdowns of Autumn restored to the atmosphere, the world would eventually freeze.
Most in the Faerie court (Seelie and Unseelie) and its allies didn’t know what was going on. All sides were keeping it quiet. Of those who knew about the problem, most were either reacting emotionally, trying to twist it to their advantages, or citing the need for the involvement of human blood. Well, Lani and Megan brought a human’s worth of blood to the table. Lani was more of an aspiring engineer than an adventurer, and Megan was still adjusting to everything. Additionally, of course, people were already trying to kill them. Lani just had to keep it together. She would help Megan navigate the fields of inhuman social landmines and less figurative dangers. She would help Megan find her father. She would help bring him back. And through it all, Lani would have to be the one to remember that just because someone is important—and just because what’s currently being done to them is wrong and dangerous—does not mean that person is safe. Lani had a little brother to think of, after all.