Donnelly, Lara Elena
This novel is a strange beast, a 'fantasy' book without any discernible magical elements, but plenty of thrills and fun. If you're looking for the usual suspects from Tolkien-style epic fantasy (warriors, mages, fantastic creatures and strange, otherworldly beings), you won't find them here. The closest approximation of magic happens on the stage of the 1930s-style cabaret, The Bumblebee. In addition to offering burlesque shows, the Bumblebee is a hive of espionage in the fictional city of Amberlough, a decadent metropolis that bears striking resemblance to Berlin during the Weimar Republic. The comparisons continue with a sinister political party threatening to take over the city, throwing the lives of spies and cabaret dancers alike into chaos. The alternate world is an intriguing one, despite the lack of the typical fantasy trimmings, and the characters are well-developed and endearing. It may be just the thing, if you're looking for a fantasy story that upends all your expectations.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)