A Cursed Crown: A Review of All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Published February 4, 2020 by Imprint (a Macmillan subsidiary)

“It’s as though it whispers to me: ‘We can get out of here. All we have to do is kill him. Aren’t you hungry, Amora?’

And gods, I’m starving.”

All the Stars and Teeth, Adalyn Grace

The whole time I was reading Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth, I had to keep reminding myself it was a debut novel. Not because I was being pulled out of the text, but because Grace kept pulling me in. All I could think was: This is Adalyn Grace and y’all better watch out. She’s just getting started.

Grace’s language is beautifully crisp and entrancing, describing a fantasy world so immersive that I could breathe it in like the briny air of Visidia. She let me see the eel-bone crown, its jaws unhinged and symbolically ready to devour its wearer—the fate of every monarch before Princess Amora Montara, the next High Animancer, reader and executor of souls. The soul magic of the Montara bloodline fights for control the moment it awakens and a weak host will have their soul eaten by it.

Everything Amora has done has been to protect her kingdom from being destroyed by magics. But when her trial goes horribly wrong, there’s only terror in her people’s eyes and Amora—too dangerous to be kept free or alive—must escape and figure out how to save her kingdom. Only a journey to the cursed island of Zudoh with a handsome pirate, a bloodthirsty mermaid, and her spurned fiancé can unveil the real history of soul magic and what dark shapes it’s being twisted into––making people live their lives with only half a soul.

The reader sails through the different islands of Visidia alongside Amora, watching Grace’s world building unfold through clothing, food, and architecture. As a fashionista, I adored following the fashion trends of Mornute and getting an intimate look inside the handsome pirate’s wardrobe. Some readers might want fewer descriptions of fine stitching, but to me, they only added to the detailed world.

But it’s the main character, not the world building, who stole my heart. Since I read All the Stars and Teeth, I’ve been trying to put into words the complexities of Princess Amora. There’s an edge of ruthlessness to her, tempered by her conviction and dedication to truth. While she does have moments of self-doubt, it was refreshing to have a young woman protagonist who is so self-assured. Amora has spent her entire life fortifying her soul against a magic that chips away at her, and it shows: she has learned to turn her fears into momentum. Her foundation may be shaken, but she looks an uncertain future in the eye and is determined to protect her people––no matter if they fear her, no matter the mistakes and lies of her family. Amora never felt conceited to me, and even if she did, she can have all the swagger she wants. Her confidence is balanced with setting right the wrongs of her bloodline; she sees through the crown’s empty gestures toward its people and demands action.

I had the pleasure of meeting Adalyn Grace a week after her debut, and I wasn’t surprised to hear she’d set out to make Amora a different sort of YA heroine. I also wasn’t surprised by her thoughts on the secondary characters, because while reading, I often had the sense they were obscured in Amora’s shadow. I wanted more of Vatea, the mermaid displaced by poachers, who’d decided it was time to live on land. And then there was Ferrick, the healer and rejected fiancé. Grace admitted that she often wasn’t sure what to do with Ferrick, except to poke fun at him through the other characters. He has a small arc where he reconciles with Amora, but ultimately, I wasn’t invested in him as a crew member.

While the pacing was much more consistent than what I’m used to seeing in debuts, the final climax felt like it came crashing down on me. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of a slow backstory reveal. A steady buildup can feel more rewarding. However, I do give props to Grace, because ripping away the veil leaves the reader feeling just as unanchored as Amora does in that moment, as her worldview shatters all at once.

The romantic subplot is where All the Stars and Teeth falls firmly into young adult romance tropes. The love interest was glaringly obvious from the start: A fiancé she could never love? A mysterious, attractive stranger who saves her life? Ooh-la-la. I’ve always found it unrealistic that two strangers burdened with saving all of humanity would have any mental energy to develop romantic feelings. Maybe it’s the adrenaline? The tension of being together on a small ship in the middle of the ocean? Regardless, Bastian the Handsome, Cursed Pirate ended up growing on me. The danger, the romantic tension––and even if his role as the male love interest was predictable, Bastian’s tragic backstory and quest for redemption pulled me in. What I truly appreciated by the end, though, was Amora’s ability to set boundaries for herself and Bastian––emotional and physical. This romantic subplot directly addresses consent, unlike the many questionable YA books of a bygone era (i.e., the early 2000s).

All the Stars and Teeth was a delight of a debut. “Just one more chapter” became a mantra while reading––it was so difficult to put down. Visidia is beautiful and, at times, gruesome. Emotions ran hot, but the characters were never frustratingly reckless, as teen protagonists are wont to be. Amora is passionate, but steady at the helm; she thinks like a leader. The sequel will require much more of Amora as a ruler than going on a quest as an individual. I’m sure Amora and Adalyn Grace are up to the task.

Black Lives Matter Fist

#BlackLivesMatter: A Note to Our Readers

June 5, 2020

Dear readers,

At Brink Literacy Project, the parent nonprofit of F(r)iction, a crucial part of our mission is to use storytelling to empower underserved and underrepresented communities.

If we at Brink are to continue working in the service of this mission, we must renew our commitment to bring awareness to these issues of systematic racism and violence, to the lives lost and the communities impacted.

F(r)iction exists to amplify emerging and underrepresented voices, to publish work from diverse creators on diverse topics, to help us think differently. So as writers, editors, readers, and nonprofit leaders, we must be more than passive observers. We must, and will, be active allies.

We at Brink stand in solidarity with the Black community and protestors across the country. We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.

We condemn the systematic violence and discrimination against the Black community and the silencing of pain and self-expression. We mourn George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Aiyana Jones, Stephon Clark, Tamir Rice, and countless other victims of police violence and brutality.

We believe in the power of stories to create change, to increase empathy, to reimagine and inspire a just society. But we must pair this with action, with demands for meaningful change, and by committing ourselves to do better and be part of creating a better world.

In order to ensure that Black voices are amplified and heard, we are suspending all of our company-related social media activity. We will only post and share content and resources that recognize Black writers and readers, honor the memory of those who have lost their lives, and support protests and organizations working for racial justice.

Internally too, we must continue the process of constantly critiquing ourselves. Here and now, we commit to increasing accessibility to our journal and online content for writers and readers who are People of Color, women, observers of minority religions, members of the LGBTQ+ community, disabled, and all marginalized persons.

As part of this, we invite Black writers to send short pitches for editorial articles, essays, and read-alongs to submit@brinklit.org to be considered for publication on F(r)iction Log (more information on submitting to F(r)iction Log here), our editorial blog. Ideas for these articles do not only need to be about Black experiences or social violence—we want to amplify the work and voices of Black writers regardless of topic and will pair writers with members of our editorial team for guidance, support, and publication assistance in developing these posts.

And for those readers who want to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement—whether financially, through protest, through education, or other means—please take a look at Ways You Can Help.

In solidarity,

Helen Maimaris
Managing Editor, F(r)iction
COO, Brink Literacy Project

Dani Hedlund
Editor-in-Chief, F(r)iction
CEO, Brink Literacy Project

We will continue to share resources, articles, and content related to BLM and systemic racism below:

For information about staying safe online while supporting BLM, check out this article on vpnMentor.

You can also learn more about educational curriculum around systemic racism here.

An Interview with Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan’s critically acclaimed and award-winning graphic novel The Arrival is a visually stunning and emotionally visceral tale of finding a new home in a foreign place. Wordless, The Arrival relies solely on the strength of its images to show how our anxieties, dreams, and capacity for resilience tie us all together, regardless of language or location. In this Q&A, we discuss the extensive process Shaun Tan went through to create such a masterful, heart-filled story.

Kathy Nguyen (KN)

The Arrival tackles incredibly complex themes of migration, displacement, the comfort of familiarity (and the wonder and fear experienced without it), the desire to belong, and the will to survive. Nonetheless, it is marketed as a children’s book. Do you feel as if this label constrains your work, or do you readily identify with it? Do you think we perhaps underestimate the power of children’s literature and its related forms, such as picture books, to explore difficult subject matters?

Shaun Tan (ST)

Short answer: Yes. I do believe that certain art forms have found themselves stuck with certain preconceptions for no good artistic reason. It may be for historical, cultural, social, institutional, or economic reasons—but not artistic ones. To me, there’s no reason why one form can’t move across different audiences, subjects, and degrees of complexity, and I always enjoy when artists and writers do this and so try to do the same myself.

Long answer: I actually came to picture books about twenty years ago as a freelance illustrator mainly interested in adult sci-fi and fantasy magazine illustration, a hobby of mine since my mid-teens. I’d also just come from an arts degree studying postmodern literature and contemporary fine art and, well, not knowing much about children’s genre fiction at all. But I was interested in narrative illustration in short forms, and I could see that picture books were the closest thing to the kind of storytelling that excited my imagination. I was also fortunate to work with a couple of writers who had similar mixed backgrounds—writing for both adults and children—and were interested in picture books that were not just for very young readers. As a painter, I also noticed that thirty-two pages—the standard picture book format—was also about as many images as you’d find in a typical gallery exhibition. In presentation, scale, and relationship to the reader, it’s just a terrific form. It also has far more accessibility than the gallery circuit, and less elitism. Books are a cheap way of owning art.

Pretty much all of my books have been created as works for general readers, not just for children. When I started out, I used to be quite dismayed that they were marketed mainly to children, and that publishing, bookselling, and academic worlds were quite closed that way. Things like the insistence on big typefaces in a book about colonial violence, or a story about workplace bullying being listed in the genre of early childhood, just because the central character is a beetle: these are not unfamiliar problems for an artist in this medium. But things have changed a lot over the years. For one, the preconceptions of genres and audiences seem to have dissolved—animation, comics, exhibitions, games; a lot has contributed to this blurring—which is a good thing, so that picture books are no longer considered to be only for children. Another thing I’ve noticed is that the children who read my work ten or twenty years ago are now adults! So they appreciate the work on new levels and still enjoy it. Who would have guessed that all child readers become adult readers? And not so changed in their tastes, either.

Some of my own prejudices about children’s literature have also dissolved. Having spent more time talking to children and seeing how they respond to work, especially visual work, and just getting to know the intellectual vastness of this field, I realize that children are as sophisticated readers as any other. Arguably with a more flexible intelligence, unburdened by the kinds of visual and cultural assumptions we adults tend to suffer from. So, ironically, I’ve learned to appreciate the children’s literature categorization. So long as it’s not constraining. I do believe a great story or idea is one that a child can understand, and children’s books can be a real test of communication skills.


On your website you mention that you have never been a huge reader of comics, but when you realized that The Arrival was becoming a graphic novel, you focused your research on studying different types of comics, such as manga. What were some of the comics you studied and why? How did you incorporate their lessons on style and story structure into your work


There are a few that I remember studying closely: Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware intrigued me with his use of time, repetition, and shifting perspective. When the Wind Blows and The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, and a lot of other well-known works which were quite new to me as someone with little comics experience, like Watchmen. There were many others, including the work of Daniel Clowes, who may have been one of the first comics creators I studied. I was fascinated by his range and humor. I also read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics closely, trying to figure out how some of the principles he describes might apply to the book I was working on.

The main thing I learned from studying all of these books was the importance of intimate detail—particularly ordinary domestic details like making a cup of tea or putting a hand on a doorknob—and changes in perception of time, moving from slow seconds to years flashing by, all by the careful arrangement of sequences. I also learned that you don’t need to show everything; you try to boil it down to key moments. That is, you can show a person boarding a train just by having a shoe resting on a metal step; you don’t need to draw the whole train. These seem obvious, but comics really sharpened my focus on visual economy, because otherwise they can be a very laborious way of telling a story. Similarly, I appreciated more consciously that the gaps between pictures are as important as the pictures themselves; that’s where the reader is really narrating things in their own imagination. A lot of these things I knew intuitively from making picture books—which are basically comics with each page as a panel—but it was great to see these things more precisely described and played with in comics. Raymond Briggs was probably the biggest influence, especially The Snowman, which is also wordless. I’d been struggling with different versions of The Arrival for about a year, feeling uncertain and dispirited about it, but when I saw that book, it gave me quite a boost, proving, “Yes, this style of storytelling can really work!”


You mentioned filmmaking as being influential when it came to creating The Arrival. Was the incorporation of filmmaking techniques a simple, intuitive process, or did it come with its own challenges in trying to adapt these techniques for the comic form? Has your reliance on these techniques for this project affected the way you tackle other projects?


It’s interesting that while I was thinking about The Arrival, I also began collaborating with a British animation studio on a proposed adaptation of The Lost Thing (which eventually became a successful short film). After deciding to have a go at storyboarding some sequences, I soon realized I was a bit undereducated for the task and began reading Film Directing Shot by Shot by Steve Katz, a practical handbook recommended to me. I soon realized the clear similarities between picture books, comics, and film storyboarding. In fact, as Scott McCloud points out, they are all the same thing. The experience of working on The Lost Thing—including a plethora of mistakes and misfires—has really deepened my understanding of illustration, as well as learning simple, practical things like “don’t cross the line” when characters are relating to each other.

To answer your question, the incorporation of film-making techniques into The Arrival felt intuitive after a while and not too difficult. I’d experienced so many narrative problems and frustrations with previous drafts of The Arrival, which look terribly clumsy in hindsight, that when I picked up on film techniques it was a big relief: finally I’d solved a lot of problems and found a practical way to move forward. I also spent a lot of time watching silent cinema, the way scenes are cut together, moving in and out of intimate detail and big picture shots, as there are strong parallels again with comics and sequential drawing, so I found it quite easy to apply rules from one medium to another.


The Arrival is filled with wildly imaginative images. You mention on your website that these images can be taken as metaphors but that you avoided rendering them as symbols. How do you go about creating metaphor-rich illustrations? Did the fantastical images included in The Arrival entail a lot of brainstorming and revision, or were they conceived easily?


It’s the usual story, some things coming easily (like daydreams) and others being quite arduous to the point of being overwrought. For me, it’s usually a lot of trial and error, and keeping things loose and open to change. I sketch a bunch of ideas, which often look a bit too literal or symbolic or just plain corny. But some of them—maybe about five to ten percent—feel strong without seeming to have specific meaning or obviousness, and those are the seeds to grow, by which I mean drawing over and over again in different ways. And sometimes it’s just a matter of working through bad symbolism until you get to something more openly metaphorical. One example is the “vacuuming” giants whom we glimpse destroying a town. In early sketches, these looked like clansmen with flaming torches, walking through a town on stilts. This was just the image that first came to mind, but it’s far too literal and even trivializing, with too many culturally specific connotations. So I kept sketching different variants and coming up with something visually less identifiable, which didn’t look so much like known images of genocide or persecution but which felt the same way, including the feeling of utter strangeness that pervades moments in history as they are actually happening without known precedents.

I guess that’s what I’m always looking for, something of an equivalent feeling to real things without the distraction of known references. I do a lot of historical research, both reading and looking at archival pictures, mainly to build up a sense of feeling for a subject, especially the weirdness of that subject. That feeling will hopefully guide the brainstorming process, through all its ups and downs; it’s the thing I keep returning too.


Creating The Arrival seemed like quite the process, with a lot of time spent digging through personal history, studying comics and film, and curating visual references! Is this hefty amount of research—and sometimes even shifts in the focus of your research—usual for your projects? How do you balance conducting research with creating stories and illustrations?


I only do as much as I think I need to, otherwise it’s easy to overinvest in one part of a project at the expense of another. I’m actually quite impatient with this stuff, at least in my mind. I really do want to get on with creating a story or the feeling of an authentic imaginary world, but I always know that it has to be buttressed by reality, by real-life details and reference points. Otherwise it becomes a kind of insular, stylistic exercise, which can feel a bit nonsensical after a while.

The Arrival needed more research than most other stories I’ve pursued, perhaps because I felt a great responsibility to tell this story properly on behalf of real migrants, people who may well read and judge the book against their own experiences. I did feel that when working on it, many eyes were looking over my shoulder, which is not something I usually feel. It needed it to feel authentic and real, as a homage to the experiences of present, past, and future migrants. This is one reason the drawing style ended up being far more naturalistic than I had originally planned, largely to refer back to the source materials that originally inspired me: old photographs of bewildered people lugging bundles of belongings off a steamer about a hundred years ago.


Were there ever times during the making of The Arrival when you felt like giving up, and if so, what kept you going?


Definitely. There were periods when I felt the whole project was a huge waste of time. But one thing I’ve learned is to expect those feelings, that depression and self-doubt are a normal part of the creative process, maybe even an essential part. Like a kind of test—how strong is the idea? Can it withstand crushing moments of dismay? In the case of The Arrival, the original concept was strong, and I kept going back to that. It was also simple: show what it’s like to be a migrant entering a foreign country, without language or cultural knowledge. It had a compelling logic to it. At one point I remember thinking, “This book needs to exist, somebody must make it. I possibly have the ability to do it. I just need to get on with it, lay one brick at a time, and eventually there will be a house.” I imagine that this is a feeling that sustains many graphic novelists, because it’s such a hard medium to persist with in relative solitude—it’s a long-distance run. The initial feelings of inspiration always fade along the way, but they do return; I just have to keep working. Work more often leads to inspiration than the other way around.


The Arrival is beloved by children and adults alike. How did its success impact you after its publication?


Well, I was quite surprised by it. By the time you finish a book, you’ve looked at it so much that your judgement is muddled. I remember thinking, as I often do at the end of something, “Well, maybe the next one will be good!” I had faith in it but was also conscious that I work in a bit of a fishbowl, so that faith can possibly be delusional. But other readers connected with the idea and its presentation, and also foreign publishers; it was the first time that they’d embraced my work. So that really opened doors. I also found myself intersecting more with the comics community and also receiving attention from literary circles outside of children’s literature, so that was nice to experience. I did feel that some genre barriers had been overcome and that people were finally just seeing my work as a story—not a children’s story, or sci-fi or fantasy, just a story, you know, for people. The best reaction, or the most rewarding, was that of older migrants who told me on several occasions, “This was just how I felt when I first came to Australia, the UK, the US or wherever.” I felt that I had then done justice to the original research material (particularly since I’m not a migrant myself) and that I’d imagined it accurately.


What’s next for you in terms of literary and/or illustration projects?


We have a baby, our second child, so a stay-at-home dad is my main project for the moment! But there are other things gestating on the creative front. I recently returned to a comics format with a small contribution to a UK collection called I Feel Machine, which was nominated for an Eisner Award—quite a surprise. It’s a story I’d like to expand a little more, about a girl who one day meets a missionary who tells her she does not belong in her beloved hometown, that she’s from somewhere else. So she must decide what to do about that. It’s interesting that I keep returning to these themes of belonging and displacement. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe they are just such great triggers for narrative. Or maybe it’s tapping into something we all feel from time to time, that we might be a little displaced or following one accidental storyline among many others, never entirely sure what reality we are in.

A Thousand Notes in Harmony: A Review of The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

Published January 14, 2020 by Del Rey

“It wasn’t music, not as he once understood the term; it was more the music’s marrow, the stuff that would pour from a song’s cracked bone; a rhythmic current; a melody sung not with the mouth but the body.”

It was the music of the language that gripped me, immediately. The lyricism of the prose; the emotion laced within the narrative; the kinetic energy of the words. In his stunning debut, The Vanished Birds, Simon Jimenez unveils himself to be as much of a composer as he is an author. And he is most certainly an author—weaving together seemingly endless threads with a grace, nuance, and empathy that left me on the verge of tears more often than I’d care to admit.

The Vanished Birds is nothing short of an epic. The story flows through time like the ships on its pages ride the currents of the Pocket, deftly spanning millennia and generations alike. The lens of the narrative is nearly panoptic in proportion—while we follow three primary characters for most of the novel, the gaze will often shift to omniscience, panning like a camera to the rich interior worlds of characters either thought to be secondary or as-yet-unseen. Far from making the story seem fractured or unfocused, Jimenez’s assertive and playful use of perspective yields startling diversity and depth. One gets the sense that every character in the novel is fully alive, and longs more than once to linger longer than Jimenez allows us to before being torn away.

But we hardly regret it, so eager are we to return to our three protagonists. Fumiko Nakajima is hailed as the savior of humanity—an ingenious, but lonely woman who designed the colossal space stations that rescued humanity after climate disasters rendered Old Earth uninhabitable. She extends her life through long periods of deep sleep, and when she wakes is both haunted by a past she cannot fully recall and driven relentlessly toward the future—whatever the cost. Nia Imani is a ship captain who takes jobs shuttling cargo through the Pocket—a space which allows interstellar travel to occur in a fraction of the time it would take to reach destinations without it—and watches the universe unfold around her at a frantic pace while she ages slowly outside of it. She maintains a strict emotional distance with anyone but her crew. But when Ahro—a speechless, orphaned boy with a startling gift for music and another, more powerful ability he has yet to discover—crash-lands on a remote agrarian planet and Nia agrees to take him back to corporate space, the two form an unlikely and unbreakable bond.

When Fumiko becomes aware of his gift and of how it could be harnessed by Umbai, her employer, to change the nature of space-travel forever, she offers Nia a job: take the boy away, keep him hidden from Umbai, and contact her when his power manifests. The collision of these characters is a breathtaking study of loss, family, determination, and love—and more, perhaps, of the ways these are intertwined and animating forces in our lives.

Like the most visionary science fiction writers always have, Jimenez doesn’t waste the opportunities his rich universe offers to reflect on and critique our world, and still gives readers all they’ve come to expect from the genre. Every element of his narrative is playing multiple chords in harmony: the powerful, intergalactic corporation of Umbai is both a satisfyingly sinister antagonist and a stunning critique of capitalism and colonialism; the novel’s examination of time-travel is both a sublimely unique twist on a classic science fiction subject and a thoughtful meditation on the cost of such an ability; Ahro’s gift is both a gripping, fantastic concept to explore and a heartbreaking, emotionally vibrant interrogation of abuse, exploitation, and healing.

In The Vanished Birds, Simon Jimenez shows himself to be not only a masterful storyteller, but also a thrilling and unique voice to watch in a science fiction genre too often characterized by cliché. Whether you are a fan of science fiction or not, this spectacular novel—with its reimagining of space travel, diverse and textured cast, and deeply emotional core—is one you absolutely cannot miss.

Clichés Fear Not: A Review of Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Published May 10, 2016 by William Morrow

Every time I try to explain how good Mongrels is, I get overly excited and talk too fast and definitely do not do this book justice. But that’s how much I want to shout at people that they need to read it. I don’t tend to read horror very often—finding a new way to approach the many overused tropes is tough. However, it was clear from the beginning that author Stephen Graham Jones had tapped into a virgin realm of disgust, bad habits, lore, and loyalty that throws away preconceived notions about werewolves, leaving a fresh take on a subject I had largely ignored.

Mongrels is narrated by an unnamed Native American boy who takes the reader on a journey through his childhood and early teen years. Raised by his Aunt Libby, Uncle Darren, and Grandfather, the narrator eagerly awaits his time to shift, fighting a fear that he never will. Through dangerous situations, financial troubles, and lovers’ quarrels, he displays a deep lust for understanding and a masterfully crafted level of thoughtfulness despite his age. He desperately wants to be a part of his pack. I was deeply invested in the wellbeing of this kid, as well as his family, and found myself holding my breath with them frequently.

Scenes evolve from gruesome and gnarly to deeply depressing to out-loud-chuckle-worthy at a rapid pace. I was always engaged, ready to ignore the world around me just to feel a little closer to Jones’ damaged characters. There’s so much detail put into every aspect of the werewolves’ lives; nothing feels like a cop-out. From their appearance to what they won’t wear while shifting to their eating habits, Jones spares nothing when it comes to explaining how werewolves tick, how they feel, and how isolated they are from society. He even goes so far as to include rituals for putting out the nightly trash, when the family must remember to sprinkle poison in the bag to prevent themselves from eating bones or harmful chemicals when they shift. The explanations of the various differences between human and werewolf are so specific, it’s hard to believe they aren’t real. Jones gives great attention to disowning worn-out preconceptions and lore, yet shows others respect. For example, these wolves can shift anytime they’d like, not just during a full moon, but yes, silver can harm them. I forgot for a little while that this wasn’t the way werewolves were always written.

The exploration of the characters and their Native American lineages force absorption of dilemmas and prejudices in a way I haven’t experienced before. Though most of the content is fantasy, by giving an already severely marginalized group yet another isolating trait, Jones adds a rare layer of empathy. Each time the narrator and his family have to move to a new state, they face hardships not only in their physical circumstances, but because of their social status. They must find their small group of allies while avoiding enemies of both werewolves and Native Americans. This creates a sense of exclusion that is impossible to ignore.

Even if you’re not a horror fan, or don’t feel any connection to werewolf lore, I recommend Mongrels wholeheartedly. I was already a huge Stephen Graham Jones fan, but yet again he wowed me into wanting more. The cinematic prose, dark humor, and attention to every little detail form a narrative that leaves little to the imagination in the best way possible.