Blog Tour: We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

Hey everyone,

Today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Originally from London, Mike Shackle has called Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, New York and Dubai his home over the years before settling down with his family in Vancouver. In that time, he’s sold washing machines, cooked for royalty, designed a few logos, and made a lot of ads. Ideally, he’s happiest day dreaming over a cup of tea.

About the book:

The first book in The Last War series: a debut epic fantasy full of crunching revolutionary action, twisted magic, and hard choices in dark times.

The war is over. The enemy won.

Jia’s people learned the hard way that there are no second chances. The Egril, their ancient enemy, struck with magic so devastating that Jia’s armies were wiped out. Now terror reigns in the streets, and friend turns on friend just to live another day.

Somehow Tinnstra – a deserter, a failure, nothing but a coward – survived. She wants no more than to hide from the chaos.

But dragged into a desperate plot to retake Jia, surrounded by people willing to do anything to win the fight, this time Tinnstra will need to do more than hide.

If Jia is to get a second chance after all, this time she will need to be a hero.

Click the link below to order your copy:

We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

My thoughts:

We Are The Dead was such a surprise for me. I began reading thinking it would be just like the usual fantasy books I’ve read of late, it turned out to be so much more.

Jia is a place ravaged by war, wiped out by a devastating magic. It is ruled by fear and death, where nobody is safe. Tinnstra, a deserter has survived, but at what cost? When she is pulled into a plot to reclaim Jia, it means going back to everything she had ran from.

What follows is an absolutely brutal, gripping and thoroughly brilliant story. I found myself completely captivated by the writing, engaged in the story and willing it forward in the hope of a good outcome.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started We Are The Dead, but I am sure that I loved it. The rich world-building, excellent characters and tense narrative made this a gripping read. I became fully immersed in this world, rooting for the Shulka, willing the characters on as the action heightened.

It is an utterly absorbing read. Dark, violent but with ultimately human issues at its heart. Family, survival and loyalty are all in play here, and I loved it from start to finish!

Highly, highly recommended!

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Blog Tour: Sanctuary by V. V. James

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Sanctuary by V. V. James, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all just a little further down this post.

About the author:

V.V. James is the author (as Vic James) of the contemporary fantasy trilogy GILDED CAGE, TARNISHED CITY, and BRIGHT RUIN. GILDED CAGE is a 2018 World Book Night pick and a Radio 2 Book Club selection. V.V. worked as an investigative producer for Channel 4 News and now directs documentaries for BBC1 and BBC2.

About the book:

Sanctuary. It’s the perfect town. . . to hide a secret.

To Detective Maggie Knight, the death of Sanctuary’s star quarterback seems to be a tragic accident. Only, everyone knows his ex-girlfriend is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died.

Then the rumours start

Bereaved mother Abigail will stop at nothing until she has justice for her dead son. Her best friend Sarah will do everything in her power to protect her accused daughter. And both women share a secret that could shatter their lives.

It falls to Maggie to prevent her investigation – and Sanctuary itself – from spiralling out of control.

A gripping thriller for fans of Big Little Lies, A Discovery of Witches and The Familars.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Sanctuary by V. V. James

My thoughts:

I picked up Sanctuary to read the first few chapters just to see what it was like, and I didn’t look up again until I was 150 pages in! It’s safe to say I was hooked from the beginning.

When the star quarterback of the Sanctuary football team dies in what appears to be a tragic accident, Detective Maggie Knight is called into a seemingly open and shut case. What she discovers though, is that there is much more going on in Sanctuary than meets the eye.

Sanctuary has been likened to Big Little Lies, and I can totally see why. This small town is full of secrets and lies, and those involved will do whatever it takes to keep them hidden.

I loved Sanctuary. It reminded me a lot of Practical Magic, mixed with a really gripping murder mystery. I powered through this book, unable to put it down.

The characters were really interesting, I thought the premise was great and the witchcraft element added a whole other dimension to this story. It definitely elevated it to more than your average mystery thriller.

Sanctuary is compelling, dark and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would happily, and highly, recommend it!

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Blog Tour: The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today, its Ellen’s turn to take part in the blog tour for The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Heather Child

Heather Child’s experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age. She lives in Bristol and Everything About You is her debut novel. Find her on twitter at @Heatherika1

About the book:

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

Ellen’s Review:

Where to start with reviewing this mind bending, time twisting gem of a book!? I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover, the twisted snake reminding me of the Ouroboros which is a symbol of eternity and renewal of life. Renewal is definitely the hot topic in Arlo; at a young age he discovers he can reverse time. Only by seconds at first but this gradually increases as the story progresses. Of course Arlo initially uses his secret talent to benefit himself, after discovering he cannot retain specifics (lottery numbers) as he “undoes” time he turns to easier ways of raising funds with scratch cards and casinos. Arlo does come across as quite a greedy, unlikeable person but given the skill to always be able to say the right thing, take back a hurtful word or action it is understandable that he appears aloof. He does redeem himself, after dabbling in the magic business, by focussing on a career where he can save people. It was difficult to read some parts where Arlo desperately tries multiple times to “correct” mistakes and it’s a miracle that he continues to try especially when fate is determined to have its way.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott definitely gives you a lot to think about; if you could rewind time would you? It’s a tricky one, I can see the benefits but I doubt I would be as brave (foolish) as Arlo, the temptation to push your luck knowing you have a rewind option might prove too much. With great power comes great responsibility and all that!  At the heart of the story is a loss Arlo suffered as a child and it is obvious that this steers a lot of his later life choices. His inability to take back a mistake in his childhood appears to be the push behind his decision making process on where to concentrate his power.

An intriguing and emotional read and one that I highly recommend!

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Blog Tour: The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

Hey everyone,

Today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Heather Child

Heather Child’s experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age. She lives in Bristol and Everything About You is her debut novel. Find her on twitter at @Heatherika1

About the book:

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

My thoughts:

The Undoing of Arlo Knott is a really unique read, I guess it’s speculative fiction if you had to try and definite it? Whatever it falls into, it’s definitely a different and clever read.

Arlo Knott discovers he has the ability to rewind and redo moments in his life. He can retain certain information, but not the likes of lottery numbers, that can bring him back to specific moments. These are usually recent, but he does try to go back further for various reasons.

It will make you question whether if you had the same ability, would you treat it the same way? Or would you keep going the way you’re going, mistakes and all? I liked the way the story was written, and I found myself really feeling for Arlo Knott at times.

This is a really hard one to review without saying too much. I really enjoyed The Undoing of Arlo Knott. It is unique, a little melancholy at times, but it’s got real heart. It’s almost like a cautionary tale on how to treat your mortality, but with more than life lessons to be learnt. A real gem of a book.

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July 2019 Book Haul

Hi guys!

Its book haul time! This month is a bumper book haul because I was lucky enough to fly over to the crime festival at Harrogate, and ended up coming home with a lot of extra books!

*For any of you who don’t know, this is where I list the books that have made Bibliophile Book Club their new home in the previous month. The books are usually bought books, ARC’s sent from publishers, Netgalley review books and just basically any books I get go on here.

So, here’s what I’ve added to my library since last month:

  1. Winter World by A. G. Riddle
  2. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
  3. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
  4. Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Capetta
  5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabah Tahir
  6. The Last Astronaut by David Wellington
  7. The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker
  8. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
  9. The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child
  10. The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent
  11. Are We Nearly There Yet? by Lucy Vine
  12. The Wedding Date by Jennifer Joyce
  13. Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
  14. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  15. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
  16. The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
  17. Marked For Death by Tony Kent
  18. Expectation by Anna Hope
  19. Of Sand and Malice by Bradley Beaulieu
  20. Blood Upon The Sand by Bradley Beaulieu
  21. A Veil of Spears by Bradley Beaulieu
  22. Beneath The Twisted Trees by Bradley Beaulieu
  23. Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
  24. Blood Song by Johanna Gustawsson
  25. Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen
  26. Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir
  27. In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone
  28. Oh My God What A Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
  29. More Than This by Patrick Ness
  30. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  31. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling
  32. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  33. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  34. Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey
  35. Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby
  36. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
  37. The Reunion by Guillaume Musso
  38. The Perfect Wife by J. P. Delaney
  39. Black Summer by M. W. Craven
  40. 18th Abduction by James Patterson
  41. Call Him Mine by Tim MacGabhann
  42. Knife by Jo Nesbo
  43. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
  44. The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
  45. The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood
  46. Take It Back by Kia Abdullah
  47. Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements
  48. Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay
  49. The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley
  50. Forced Confessions by John Fairfax
  51. A Shadow on the Lens by Sam Hurcom
  52. The Burning Men by Will Shindler
  53. Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar
  54. Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham
  55. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
  56. Darkest Truth by Catherine Kirwan
  57. Violet by S. J. I. Holliday
  58. All The Rage by Cara Hunter
  59. She by HC Warner
  60. East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman
  61. The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham
  62. Never Look Book A. L. Gaylin
  63. Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver
  64. Ascent by Jed Mercurio
  65. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
  66. Night by Night by Jack Jordan
  67. War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
  68. Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund
  69. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
  70. Sanctuary by V. V. James
  71. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

So that’s all the books I bought or was lucky enough to receive over the course of the month! Have you read any of these? Would you?! Let me know in the comments!

Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

Hi everyone,

I’m back with some more reviews today, and I’ve actually almost caught up, can you believe it?!

The Devouring Gray

The Devouring Gray

I really liked the sound of TDG and was looking forward to getting stuck into this one. It’s got witches and magic, a fairly prevalent theme in books this year as I’ve read a few witchy-type books in recent months. I enjoyed The Devouring Gray, it was a fairly quick read too. Recommended if you like YA-ish witchy kinda books!

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass: 1

Throne of Glass had been on my kindle for months, if not years, and I was in dire need of some sort of fantasy book that would grab my attention. ToG definitely managed to do the job. I really like the characters, and it’s a decent start to a series for sure. Calaena Sardothien vies to become the King’s Champion while there are darker forces working against her in this one. I really enjoyed this book. It’s got just enough to keep you reading, while dropping enough hints so that you have to continue on with the series. I’m moving onto book four now, and my husband is on book six! Definitely recommended!

Dark Shores

Dark Shores

I’m a sucker for all things nautical, so when you add in fantasy I can’t really say no. Dark Shores had so much promise for me, and while it’s good, I didn’t love it like I had hoped I would when I started reading it. Interesting premise, good characters, but there wasn’t enough to hold my interest completely. That being said, I would still recommend it, because there are elements there that definitely work.

Extinction Trials: Rebel

The Extinction Trials: Rebel

I really liked this series of books. To be fair, I was gutted knowing that this was going to be the last one I would read. It really is a cross between The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park, just a really fun read. It’s bittersweet reading Rebel, but I absolutely loved the world building for this series. The characters are fantastic, and the premise is such a unique one that makes it really hard to tear yourself away. I’d definitely recommend this book, this whole series actually!

Blog Tour: Shadows of the Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson

Hey everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Shadows of the Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson is an Icelandic author who lives in Reykjavík. Shadows of the Short Days is his first novel. He writes in both Icelandic and English and is the founder and editor of Iceland’s first SFF magazine, Furðusögur (Weird Stories). Alexander is also the vocalist and lyricist for Icelandic black metal band Carpe Noctem.

About the book:

Sæmundur the Mad, addict and sorcerer, has been expelled from the magical university, Svartiskóli, and can no longer study galdur, an esoteric source of magic. Obsessed with proving his peers wrong, he will stop at nothing to gain absolute power and knowledge, especially of that which is long forbidden.

Garún is an outcast: half-human, half-huldufólk, fighting against an unjust government that refuses to grant people like her basic rights. A militant revolutionary and graffiti artist, recklessly dismissive of the status quo, she will do anything to achieve a just society, including spark a revolution. Even if she has to do it alone.

This is a tale of revolution set in a twisted version of Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic and populated by humans, interdimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.

Shadows of the Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson

Extract from Shadows of the Short Days

Eitt


Garún removed her mask and stepped away from the wet graffiti
to see clearly the whole of the hex sigil she’d painted. It was
difficult breathing through the filters on the leather mask and it
felt good to taste the fresh air. It was dark, the only light coming
from the pale moon that sat low in the sky. She relied on insight
and feeling when she painted, so the dark didn’t bother her. She
didn’t need to see to know if the graffiti was good or when it was
ready. She simply felt it, but it was a raw feeling. She wanted to
be sure, so she slipped the goggles over her eyes in order to see
the sorcerous seiðmagn bleeding from the paint.
Sharp geometries jutted out unexpectedly from the red and
obscure graffiti, and even though the paint wasn’t dry yet the
seiðmagn already radiated powerfully into the environment.
Exhausted from the work, Garún felt dried up after using so
much delýsíð paint in such a short time. While she painted, the
emotions expressed within her art were amplified by the delýsíð
in the paint and cast back to her in a vicious psychedelic cycle:
she was the snake that fed on itself. Now, it was complete. Garún
turned down the volume of the electronic music booming in her
ears and focused on letting the painting speak to her.
The graffiti was in a good location atop the store Krambúðin
and with luck it would be weeks until it was discovered. All the while it would continue to bleed seiðmagn into the environment,
where it would infiltrate the subconscious of those nearby. It
would slowly infect their minds and sow the seeds of discord.
If left undisturbed, the painting would become as a death mask
over the building and its neighbourhood.
Krambúðin was a store owned by Sigurður Thorvaldsen, a
merchant who ran several enterprises in the greater Reykjavík
area. The one below Garún’s feet had become one of the most
popular colonial stores in the city since Sigurður had moved to
Reykjavík and set up shop almost the same day as the occupation of the Crown began. Not for the soldiers, but for all the
people from the countryside flooding to the city to work for
the army. The Crown needed a large working force, especially
to build the forts in Viðey and the barracks on Seltjarnarnes.
Sigurður had pushed those out who threatened his business,
threatening, blackmailing and maiming – but, above all, profiting. By the time occupation became colonisation and the forts
of the colonial masters were built, Sigurður Thorvaldsen had
become a wealthy man and Reykjavík a fully grown city.
The graffiti Garún had sprayed on the roof was an antiprosperity hex. It was intended to drive away the establishment’s
elite customers who prized Krambúðin’s imported luxury products. Exotic spices, delicate fabrics, handmade soaps, candies and
perfumes were only a small fraction of the merchandise available.
Those who did not subconsciously avoid the store would become
victims of the hex. Pushy customers would argue with the staff,
who in turn would be unhelpful and patronising. With luck
the influence would spread over the whole street as the graffiti
fed on the people’s negative emotions and spewed them back
out. She hoped that it would be able to remain unharassed for
longer than her other work, which had all been found within
a few days.

She took the spray cans and the painting mask and stuffed
them into her backpack along with the goggles. Before climbing
down from the roof she double-checked that she’d left no empty
cans behind. She slid down the fire-escape ladder in the back
and turned up the volume again. It was calm and slow, the
bass steady and comforting, telling her that nobody was around,
nobody was watching. She ran silently through empty yards,
vaulted over the fences in her path. The beat became faster the
closer she got to the Hverfisgata Road and the stressed rhythm
hinted that the police might not be far down the street. She
weaved through alleys and backyards alongside Hverfisgata’s busy
road. The evening traffic had barely started to trickle downtown.
Sudden breaks and booming basslines told her if someone was
about to cross her path or about to look out of their window,
and she reacted instinctively, ducking into cover and waiting
for the threat to pass. She could never be absolutely sure that
she had not been seen, and often it was hard to read the music,
but after endless practice it had become almost second nature,
a part of her natural reflex. She let go and let the music speak
to her subconscious.
The closer she got to Hlemmur the more uneasy the music
grew. Patrol automobiles were lined up in front of the police
station, which was fused with the central station like a tumour
grown outside a body. The beat was thick and murky, the music
absolutely deafening. She turned down the volume so it was
barely audible, pulled her hoodie up and tried not to think about
what would happen if she was stopped for a random search.
The central station was home for those who had nowhere
else to go. Hobos, junkies, a few blendingar. She made sure not
to glance towards them as she felt them notice her walking
past. As if they resented her for not sitting with them in the
gutter. Policemen stood by the ticket booth and gates, docile but

formidable. She tried to keep a low profile, but without it being
suspicious. Just as would be expected from a blendingur like her.
She took the train to Starholt. Most working people had
got home by now and the nightlife didn’t pick up until after
midnight, so the train was relatively empty. The city lights took
on a blurred halo in the grimy windows.
No one greeted her when she came home. She missed Mæja.
What was she thinking, leaving the cat with Sæmundur? He
could barely take care of himself, let alone a cat. She was unsure
what her intention had been, exactly. She’d wanted him to feel
guilt or remorse, or anything at all, there at the end. But he
had been simply too numb and now her little cat was probably
starved to death underneath worm-eaten manuscripts and dirty
socks. One more thing she tried not to think about.
Her studio flat was a bedroom, kitchen, working area and
living room simultaneously. The sink was filled with paintbrushes
and squeezed paint tubes were found on almost every surface.
Half-completed paintings were scattered around in stacks leaning against the walls. The air smelled of paint, oil, acrylics and
spray mixed in with a faint, sour reek of delýsíð. It was probably
good that she was rid of Mæja. The cat would have been long
dead from all the toxic chemicals in the air.
Garún took off her large headphones and removed the
audioskull from the backpack. Sæmundur had summoned the
noisefiend himself and bound it into the skull when she’d started
to tag small, powerful delýsíð staves here and there. Wires stuck
out of the bare headphones, an old operator’s headset she had
converted. She had always meant to make a casing from wood
or brass, but had never got around to it. The headphones were
plugged into the forehead of the audioskull. The skull had a blue

shade to it, covered in runes and esoteric symbols coloured a
dark red. It was both illegal and dangerous to summon demons,
but Sæmundur never cared about risks. She’d got a used portable
transistor radio cheap and had been listening to it on the go,
carrying it around in her backpack. That’s what had given him
the idea. Transmundane beings were incredibly dangerous even
when bound in bone, and Garún had absolutely lost it when he
gave her the skull. Still, she had used it.
She took off the black clothes and emptied her backpack. She
hid the clothes, along with the backpack and audioskull, under
a loose board in the closet. Inside there was a hidden compartment where she put the nearly empty delýsíð spray cans. She
was practically out, and she needed more. She’d gone tagging
a bit too frequently these last weeks, excited for the upcoming
protest they had planned. She would have to get more. The
bright and unnatural colours had stained her fingers. She turned
on the shower and washed her hands with strong and coarse
soap before stepping in. The water smelled faintly of sulphur, a
familiar and soothing feeling.
After the shower she dried off with a towel and wrapped it
around her head to dry her shoulder-length hair. She stirred
a raw egg into skyr and read a book while she ate. The book
had come free from a nearby café; many of the coffee houses
in Starholt had various kinds of free shops and trade markets.
Many of the local residents were artists and it aided them in
their never-ending pursuit of inspiration and materials. Almost
a century had passed since the book was written, long before
the occupation by the Crown. The novel was about a huldukona
who wanted to become a poet, but her poems were rejected
by the Hrímlanders because of who she was. Because of what
she was. All her life was one long struggle. The book was a
handmade reprint some decades old. It was singed and burned

and many pages had been ripped out of it. There still remained
some readable parts and Garún devoured them. She’d never
found a novel about huldufólk before.
When she finished eating she wrapped the towel around
herself, sat out on the balcony and rolled a cigarette. Just a
bit too tight, so she had to work her lungs to inhale the livid
smoke. Winter had begun smothering autumn and the evening
dark was sharp and deep. The apartment buildings surrounded
a playground where a few children played in an old wooden
play castle that had once been multicoloured, but the paint had
peeled off long ago. No one was monitoring them. Late as it was,
this was a common sight. She looked over to the other balconies.
Clean laundry hung out to dry on taut clothes lines everywhere,
among the junk that artists and collectors had gathered: old
fishing nets, rusted iron and driftwood, sheets of corrugated iron
and other garbage that was a gleaming treasure in some eyes.
Garún threw the butt over the balcony and went inside. She
had to get more delýsíð spray paint. Viður would hook her up.
She put on a pair of old jeans and a plain black top, grabbed a
moss green coat on the way out. She took her time walking to
the central area of Starholt, the epicentre where the artistic types
and other ideological outcasts, self-declared or not, met each
night with the common goal of gossip, flattery, drink and dope
in various degrees. As she got closer to the heart of it all, the
neighbourhood came to life. Massive cement towers gave way
to lower, friendlier houses. Electric lamps with stained glass lit
up the streets, twisted modern sculptures that were a welcome
change from the Crown’s uniform standard issue lamps everywhere else in the city.
Gangs of náskárar sat on eaves over dark alleyways, selling
drugs. They were adorned with markings of their tribe, all of
them warriors with iron claws or beaks. Bright laughter moved

through the crowd like an infectious cough and occasionally
glasses of beer shattered. Huldufólk and humans hung together
in separate groups outside bars and clubs.
The huldufólk’s attitude towards her was reserved when she
walked past them, all of them reflexively reaching out to see who
was there. Garún barely noticed, having grown used to shutting
it out long ago. Not that humans considered her an equal either
– on the contrary – but some huldufólk had a vicious way of
upholding what they considered the old ways, and she served as
an offensive reminder to them of how far they had fallen.
She shook off these thoughts and lit another cigarette to clear
her head. Those strangers didn’t matter. She had found her own
people. And above all, she had herself.

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