The Splendid City

The Splendid City | Karen Heuler

The Splendid City is an excellent satirical novel that is both fun and very uncomfortable to read.

First, the satire. The hints of and even distinct parallels to current affairs (mostly US, but creeping in worldwide) are clear and worrying. The Splendid City is set in a dystopian alternative reality where the state is failing, surveillance is constant, public information is nothing but lies and misinformation, and general fun and games helps to distract people from what is really going on, I say ‘alternative reality’ because there’s magic. It’s integral to the story, not least because it serves as a metaphor for public acceptance of lies and obfuscation. A cat talks – and nobody bats an eyelid. People disappear – and nobody asks any questions.

As for the fun — it’s highly entertaining – some of the dialogue is very funny – and very well written. It has a strongly feminist slant, with witches. And did I mention the talking cat?

I completely approve of the recent massive trend of interest in witches. More than ever, women need to stand together, realise how powerful they are together and resist the forces trying to put them down. Women are more at risk now than they have been for several generations, as mysogyny and right-wing extremism soar.

So even if magic and alternative realities aren’t your usual fare, I do recommend to give this novel a try. It has a lot to say.

P.S. – Isn’t that cover gorgeous?

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Angry Robot for an advance copy of The Splendid City. All my reviews are 100% unbiased, no matter how I receive the book.

You might also like: The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch | Melinda Taub

To see when I upload new reviews, follow me on Mastodon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *