They’re known as the Children of the Cuckoo. Stolen from their cribs and raised by ghouls, the changelings serve the creatures who rule the world Below and despise the world Above. Any human contact is strictly forbidden and punishment is swift and severe for those who disobey.
Eight years ago, Emmie Silvey was born on Halloween while a full moon rose in the sky. Raised in Providence by her widower father, she’s a strange, yellow-eyed girl, plagued with visions of impossible worlds and fabulous beings. Now her path is about to intersect with one of the changelings, a violent young woman named Soldier who’s quickly slipping from the favor of her ghoul masters. Inextricably linked, together they must face the monsters and unearthly forces that have shaped their lives… and threaten their futures.
Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's tales of legendary monsters running amok under the streets of New England, Kiernan's fifth novel (after Low Red Moon) to feature psychic sensitive Deacon Silvey and his supernaturally scarred family and friends is a hell-raising dark fantasy replete with ghouls, changelings and eerie intimations of a macabre otherworld. The story develops along two converging lines sketched in alternating chapters. In one, Deacon's adolescent daughter, Emmie, finds herself increasingly subject to weird presentiments and uncanny encounters that suggest she's more fey than mortal. In the other, a hard-boiled female demon-killer, Soldier, cuts a swath through Rhode Island's ghoul-infested underground on a vaguely defined mission that eventually brings her and Emmie together as partners. The complex plot springs abundant surprises involving forgotten cradle exchanges, mistaken identities and unexpected betrayals on its juggernaut roll to a memorable finale. Though more talky than Kiernan's usual, the story still manages an effective mix of atmosphere and action and resolves most of the major subplots.
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This is by far one of Caitlin R. Kiernan’s best works. It’s beautifully written, often scary, but ALWAYS fun and exciting.