Charles de Lint’s Someplace To Be Flying

someplace_torLaurie Thayer penned this review.

Kerry moved to Newford to escape her past and live a normal life. But her life is anything but normal, especially with people like the Crow Girls in it. They appear to be irrepressible teenagers, and yet Maida eased Kerry’s panic attack merely by licking her fingers and touching them to Kerry’s forehead. And then along came Ray, who declared himself to be Kerry’s grandfather and attempted to abduct her at gunpoint, until he was driven off by the crow girls. But Kerry had never known her grandfather, and her grandmother was only a memory from happier times.

Katy lives in the Tombs section of Newford, spending most of her time with Jack Daw the storyteller. Katy never speaks about her past, but her Tombs family isn’t inclined to ask questions; they all have something that they wish to forget. But when Katy finally opens up, they find that it’s worse than they could have guessed. And then she disappears. Hank is minding his own business, driving his cab through the streets of Newford, when he stops to help a woman in distress, and ends up needing to be rescued himself. Lily had been searching for what she called “animal people” when she was attacked. The pair of raggedy girls who appear out of nowhere and casually kill the grim-faced attacker magically heal both Hank and Lily before vanishing again. Now Lily and Hank suddenly find themselves in a world made completely unfamiliar, for Lily’s “animal people” are the firstborn, those beings who existed before humans. Among the firstborn are the corbae, including Raven, the Crow Girls and Jack Daw.

Their enemies are the Cuckoos, whose burning ambition is to rid the world of the corbae. Hank, Lily, Kerry and Katy are drawn in to the firstborn’s search for Raven’s missing pot, part grail, part cauldron of birth and death. The corbae and their human allies must find the pot before the Cuckoos, who will use it to destroy their enemies.

Canadian author Charles de Lint is a master of the urban myth. With Someplace To Be Flying, de Lint returns to the fictional city of Newford, the setting of the novel Memory and Dream and the short story collections Dreams Underfoot and The Ivory and the Horn. With an ensemble cast of strong characters, some human, some not so human, Someplace to be Flying is a liberal mix of Native American folklore and a dash of Celtic mythology. As in much of de Lint’s work, the reader is reminded that magic lurks just beneath the surface of our everyday world, and once we have seen it, we can never again look at the world in quite the same manner. With Someplace To Be Flying is an enchanting addition to the Newford saga, and highly recommended.

(TOR Books, 1998)

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