During Mardi Grass in the year 2004 magic floods back into the city of Galveston, separating the city into the real and the magic part. There, where magic reigns, the carnival never ends. Thanks to the worldwide emergence of magic, civilization has nearly completely collapsed, and small communities and cities have to rely on themselves to survive. That’s true in Galveston, like everywhere else, and to deal with the problems brought through the magic into the world, both parts of the city live together in a shaky balance. When the daughter of the mayor of the real part of the city strikes a bargain with the mayor of the magic part, the balance between the two parts is destroyed and threatens to destroy the real part of the city.
Sean Stewart is one of those writers more interested in characters than in plot. If you happen to like the characters, then it can work very well, like for example in his book “Nobody’s Son” (which I thought was quite good), but if you happen to dislike them, the book makes a nosedive very fast.
Another problem is that the whole book is constructed in such a way to ram poker-contrived-metaphors-about-life-and-everything down the throat of the reader. If you don’t buy into those, you might find it manipulative how the plot is constructed. But one thing I have to concede is that Stewart writes very well, and if you don’t mind the things I do, you might enjoy the book a great deal more.