Gideon Wellington has a dream, and that dream is to destroy the bards. They have the mysterious power of the Grey, but he has ingenuity and a couple of engineers. He expects some opposition. Instead, the bards make him an offer too good to refuse. In Salvare’s Mountain, D. P. Rowell creates a fantasy shaded with allegory. His worldbuilding is anarchic, combining T-shirts with top hats and swords with horseless carriages. Although never explicitly religious, the novel debates good and evil and recalls biblical stories in the legends of its world. The plot seems obvious in some ways but still holds a few tricks. Some readers may be put off by the abrasive hero, but others will appreciate the unique world and the narrative’s poignant conclusion.
Best for: Fans of fantasy and young-adult fiction.
Discern: Several battles, a man discovers the bodies of his murdered friends, one character discusses the suicide of a loved one, and the hero engages in a kind of blood magic.