Lush and Beautiful

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I have been a long time fan of G. Willow Wilson, starting with her creation of the Ms. Marvel comic series (Kamala Khan is one of my favorite superheroes to come out of Marvel in quite some time), as well as her first fiction novel Alif the Unseen. When I got the chance to get my paws on her new book, you can bet I leapt at the chance. It stars a concubine, Fatima, and a royal mapmaker, Hassan, from an emirate of Muslim Spain, who end up fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, with the help of a jinn, when it becomes clear that Hassan is no ordinary mapmaker. He can create maps of places he's never been and places that don't exist. He can even twist reality and create maps that lead their followers to distant places by taking but a few steps. This is one thing I love about Wilson's writing: it is full of rich magic and mythos that is wholly unique and entrancing. I have become obsessed with jinn as of late, and I loved her take on the creature. I know this book has been criticized for being long winded and slow, because the characters spend a majority of the book traveling. However, I am a Tolkien fan, so I was perfectly content to watch the characters wind their way through Spain, listening to the decadent descriptions of the landscape. This book is for those who enjoy dreamy text full of magic that doesn't explain what it is, but simply lets its lush beauty wash over the reader. I'm excited to get more like this from Wilson in the future.