Smiler’s Fair. Book Review

smilers_fairSMILER’S FAIR by Rebecca Levene
Hodder & Stoughton, h/b, 416pp, £14.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Smiler’s Fair is said to house one of everything there is to have in the world, trading in all that coin can buy, but the place really deals in satisfying vices with all of the virtues left out. It is the place to go when you don’t want the ordinary, and with a fair that changes location frequently, when you see it, you have to experience it. And that is just what Nethmi and Lahiru intend to do.

Dae Hyo used to drink. Now he smokes, and works in the mine, his goal: to amass enough wealth to rebuild his people and take back his lands. But, as always, the Worm Men threaten any who dare to work in the ground or dwell too long in Smiler’s Fair. Young Eric knows it is only a matter of time before the fair moves on again. He has little time left and is determined to make the most of it before he has to say goodbye to his latest and greatest companion.

The prophecy said King Nayan’s heir would be evil, and it seems as though the words spoke the truth. On a floating palace, pulled by giant mammoths around a lake, the child’s birth draws near. The king knows what he must do, but there are others who have different intentions for the child’s future.

With a sublime cast of vibrant characters and a deliciously dark and intoxicating undertone, Smiler’s Fair is certainly one of 2014’s strongest new fantasy releases. Levene delivers a bold story that keeps on revealing more wonders and secrets as the narrative progresses to a conclusion that leaves the reader only wanting more of this unique world.

Book one of The Hollow Gods series is crammed with enticing detail, action and a story far larger and more expansive than a review can capture or express. The lack of chatter leading up to its release belies the impressive content Smiler’s Fair has to offer, and for any fan of modern, character-based fantasy this one is definitely worth reading.