I got Kai Ashanti Wilson’s The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps after reading a review of the second novella (which I just started).
A caravan and the mercenaries protecting it arrive at the last stop before they head into the wildeeps, which is a dangerous, magical wilderness. The Sorcerer is a new guy (or it seemed so to me?). He uses big words that don’t exactly translate, has a bag that’s bigger on the inside, and he and the Captain are different from the rest of the group. They have special talents and abilities, and though these abilities aren’t identical, the fact of their having them sets them apart in the same way.
There was a lot I liked: the language, which has been touted all over the internet, is a really interesting (and fun, nobody mentions how much fun it is as it bounces around) mash up of high fantasy, slightly more regular English, and African-American dialect/slang. There are also multiple languages being spoken, and even though they’re all expressed as English, I really liked how our main character goes from sounding perfectly fluent to completely not when he’s speaking an unfamiliar language.
The worldbuilding is also the sort that I love–drop us in the middle and let us sort it out, with a bonus of our being able to sort it out fairly easily. And I’m very interested in this world. It’s one of those “science fiction world has evolved into fantasy world” universes, which I’m always up for.
The characters are all POC, the main character is gay; about my only complaint is no women except for wives at home and the main character’s aunty (who, I admit, was awesome when she was around) but considering how much it’s already got going, I’m willing to take Aunty and be content.
I will say that I’m not sure Wilson stuck the landing at the end–I could see how it was supposed to be emotionally affecting, but the ambiguity didn’t help me feel it. And I don’t think I ever got invested enough in the characters to feel how I was clearly supposed to when I hit the last sentence. I’m not sure if that was a flaw of the book or if it was my being distracted by cool worldbuilding, though.
Still, very much worth the $2.99 I paid for it, and honestly, I’d have paid more.