Spring's Arcana
July 5, 2023
Book Review

Spring's Arcana

reviewed by Fiona Cook

Lilith Saintcrow is currently best known for her multiple urban fantasy series – but this time she’s bringing Russian folklore to the forefront in her latest novel Spring’s Arcana.

It’s winter in New York, and what is usually a magical time of year is somewhat ruined for Nat Drozdova; her mother is dying. But her mother has an old friend she insists Nat visit; and what seemed like a harmless – if inconvenient – duty soon turns life upside down for the young woman.

Comparisons to American Gods abound for Spring’s Arcana, and I can see why – they both took a similar “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to their mythologies. But Lilith Saintcrow brings a whole new style to this fantastical road trip novel; instead of gods, we have personas, and scenes of a party where fictional characters mingle with concepts brought to life by virtue of belief and interest from a world that has no idea they exist.

 One of my favorite parts of the book was the demi-monde the author has created to sit alongside our own. From hotels with rooms uniquely (and impossibly) tailored to their occupants, to roadside bars where bikers mingle with the essence of the Wild West, the story introduced Nat to marvels and dangers right alongside each other. The reader gets to watch over her shoulder and wonder right along with her; even though I know it was dangerous, I was so swept up in it all I wanted to see more and more.

The ending makes it clear that there’s more story to come, and perhaps that would be the only downside to this book; I wasn’t ready to finish when it did! But I’m excited at this new world Saintcrow has created, and I can’t wait to see more.

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