Khesh City floats above the surface of the uninhabitable planet of Vellern. Topside, it's extravagant, opulent, luxurious; the Undertow is dark, twisted and dangerous. A place where nothing is forbidden, Khesh City is also a democracy, of sorts, policed by the Angelselite, state-sponsored killers who answer only to their enigmatic master, the Minister. Taro lived a privileged life with his Angel aunt until a strange man, who bought his body for the night, followed him home and murdered her. Taro wants to find the killer who ruined his future, but he's struggling just to survive in the brutal Undertowthen an encounter with the Minister sets him on a new course. Elarn Reen is a famous musician sent to Khesh City as the unwilling agent of mankind's oldest enemy, the Sidhe. To save her own life, she must find and kill a renegade Sidhe. As Taro and Elarn's paths converge, it becomes clear that the lives of everyone in Khesh City are at riskand a common prostitute and an uncommon singer are the city's only chance.
Fenn sets her romance-heavy but passionless debut in a vast and ancient aerial city that inexplicably evokes very little sense of wonder. Nual is a sanctioned killer in Khesh City, where the very rich live Topside and the criminal classes lurk in the low-gravity Undertow. The reclusive and mysterious Nual is stalked by two reluctant hunters: Taro, a prostitute desperate for safety and forgiveness after he inadvertently aids in his aunt’s murder, and singer Elarn Reem, an unwilling cat’s paw for the mysterious Sidhe. Once the rulers of humanity, the Sidhe have a special and malevolent interest in Khesh City, whose founding was tied to their fall. The stronger parts of the story are undermined by a vague, clichéd setting and a false-ringing romance, giving the reader little reason to care about the characters or their woes. (Jan.)