Dec 132023

Publishers Weekly: Survival is the measure of success for people overwhelmed by alien forces in this adroit alternate history of first contact from fantasist Dickinson (the Baru Cormorant trilogy). Anna Sinjari, a Kurd living in 2013 New York City, finds an eight-headed extraterrestrial casually snacking on turtles in Central Park. Bound soul to soul by a mysterious alien force, Anna and Ssrin, who turns out to be a rebel from the Exordia galactic empire, attempt to recover a crashed spaceship and avoid the enforcers coming to nab Ssrin. The trail leads them back to Kurdistan, where Anna must confront her mother, Khaje, and fellow villagers, who are all still wary of Anna after she made a devil’s bargain to help them survive an Iraqi-led genocide. The rest of the world notices their struggle, bringing in a swarm of special forces units and nuclear-armed aircraft to an otherwise peaceful countryside. Layering in a bromance, an odd-couple pair of female physicists, an Iranian fighter pilot with a Top Gun obsession, and mother-daughter conflict, Dickinson skillfully puts the cosmic scale of the Exordian rebellion into manageably personal terms. With cool alien technology, admirably hopeful heroes, and SFF pop culture references littered throughout, this will have readers hooked.