Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Reasons for Inclusion: East Asian (Korean, I think?) and Hispanic gay protagonists.
Sterling is broke and tired of living in a cramped city. A week-long job surveying an old forest seems like the perfect break. It doesn’t hurt that his technician partner is more than friendly.
Then he starts hearing voices and hallucinates an encounter with a fawn who wants him to complete an arcane ritual. Combined with a partner who suddenly needs his help with some mysterious, deadly problem, a boss accusing him of sabotage, and a dying forest, Sterling isn’t certain what’s real, what’s madness, or which is worse.
In this slightly creepy story set in a dreary far future, mysterious forces conspire over the fate of an old Eastern European forest.
Prickly and unhappy lovers Sterling and Donovan are working with the team surveying the forest- and fall into the middle of the conspiracy.
I found the characters a bit too coarse and the world too drab. But I enjoyed Pan and Grandmother Toad and I wish they’d gotten more screentime. And the climax, where all the plans came to light, worked very well to tie all the mysteries together.
I’m interested in the sequel story!
(ARC received through Netgalley)