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Foul Days, by Genoveva Dimova

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Sometimes when I’ve been doing a lot of revisions and bouncing off a string of bad library books, I grump around the house asking if I even like books. The house is stuffed with books. I like books better than basically any other material object. Of course I like books. Sometimes I need the right book to remind me. And Foul Days was one of those books.

Kosara is a witch in the walled city of Chernograd. The rest of the world wants its monsters behind the walls, where the witches and warlocks of Chernograd know how to ward them off, hunt them, or at least mitigate their damage–and Kosara has a lot of experience with all of that. She’s even had very personal run-ins with the Zmey, the terrifying human-like force known as the Tsar of Monsters. But this year in the monster-ridden Foul Days that start a new year, her luck has run out–and she’s cornered in the worst situation a witch can get herself into. With new allies looking suspicious–and the old ones even worse–Kosara has to get her shadow back and beat the Zmey in order for herself and her city to survive intact.

Foul Days is infused on every page with a wry and loving blend of Dimova’s Bulgarian background and her own considerable imagination. The characters, down to the smallest house spirits, relate in a way that feels real and vivid. The entwining of Kosara’s magical and personal obstacles feels real. It was exactly the right thing to snap me out of a reading slump, and I can’t wait for the promised sequel.

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