Arden Powell has been writing such an amazing selection of books for the Flos Magicae series. All have been crafted with a certain subtlety, the world building and any foundation information is such that the reader has to cobble together the hints scattered throughout the book or from the odd statements in dialogue to try to understand the societal framework the novels take place in.
Sometimes it frustrating, other times it flows perfectly within the magical quiet flow of the narrative. Here, it’s a bit of both.
We start off in 20th century Toronto. A ugly city, where homosexuality is a severe crime punishable by long term imprisonment or even death. There’s magic and magic wielders but those with major powers seem to be few . Or not heard of within the lowest orders of the working class. If you’re truly without magic, then your prospects are dim.
Non magical David, who works, like his parents did, for the big distillery in Toronto, barely has any money to his name. Again much like his parents who scraped to feed him.
We come upon him as he’s fighting his way through the blizzard, up towards Manitoba, looking for a friend who disappeared months ago.
The backstory comes out in bits and pieces throughout this tale, as David, and Amaruq, the friend he’s been looking for, struggle to communicate.
I mean struggle. There’s a lot of silence, started conversations that go nowhere. Snow. Freezing temperatures. A sense of deep pain and fatigue that surrounds them both. There’s a ghost. Whether he’s real or not, that’s left up to each reader to decide.
But Powell makes it all feel believable, even down to the magical elements. The stumbling blocks they’ve raised between themselves, the misconceptions. It’s as much due to the times and circumstances in which they lived rather than who they actually were.
I could have done more with the ending and a vast spiritual experience that occurred than what was left on the page. I felt it was way too brief for the magnitude of the events.
But that seems par for the course with the stories within this series.
I find my imagination keeps returning to different aspects of this couple and the story. That is a huge plus for me in any story. And another reason I’m recommending The Solstice Cabin (Flos Magicae) by Arden Powell.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer