The Iron Dragon's Daughter

Michael Swanwick, Author William Morrow & Company $23 (424p) ISBN 978-0-688-13174-6
Swanwick's nihilistic tale features a human changeling who tries to make her way in a cutthroat society that mirrors contemporary life. While the players are elves, dwarves, lamies and other ``magickal'' creatures, they could be 20th-century juvenile delinquents and power politicians in a society ruled by caste snobbery, drugs, a mall culture and child labor. Determined to end her slavery in a steam dragon plant, the young human Jane escapes with the help of a rusted old dragon hulk named Melancthon. Thereafter, she goes to school disguised as a fey in order to learn the magic necessary to repair the ravages inflicted on the dragon by time and battle. But the misfit Jane finds school horrifying, and she turns to shoplifting to gain friends. She falls in love with a young man destined to be the annual sacrifice; when she loses her virginity, her usefulness to Melancthon as a magic-maker is ended. After her lover's tragic death, Jane is taken under the wing of a power-hungry elven lord, Galiagante. Eventually she joins Melancthon once again as he sets out to destroy the Universe. Nebula Award-winner Swanwick ( Stations of the Tide ) develops a powerful, yet dark and hopeless fantasy that should forever shatter charming illusions of Faerie and its folk. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
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