YES! More Califa stories! The California/Aztec world created by Wilce is one of my absolute favorites, so when I stumbled across the existence of this compilation of short stories (cleverly compiled by a “historian” who comments on the likely historicity of each one in chapter Afterwards), I jumped at getting my hands on it. I’m so glad I did! Although the last two stories didn’t quite grab my attention–they take place after the events of the Flora series–the first five are wonderful.
We get the background of Springheel Jack in a flashy, hyper-descriptive little story. But no contest, my favorite stories were the three about Hardhands and Tiny Doom. Flora’s father was always one of my favorite characters, and it was so fun to read about him as an arrogant, powerful teenager. Tiny Doom as a toddler was also hilarious fun, and as always, Pig is a scene-stealer.
Wilce is a genius. She has created such a ridiculous world that feels entirely right. Everyone wears skirts and vanity is king, magic and fantasical creatures are used for blood sacrifices as well as band percussionists. Her slang, both in dialogue and in description, is so perfect that you never doubt what she is referring to although there is no reason you ought to understand. I adore Califa and its crazy, slightly homicidal residents. I hope Wilce continues to create stories for this world, because I will never stop reading them!
These interconnected stories are set in the opulent, quasi-historical world of magick and high manners called the Republic of Califa.
The Republic is a strangely familiar place–a baroque approximation of Gold Rush era-California with an overlay of Aztec ceremony–yet the characters who populate it are true originals: rockstar magicians, murderous gloves, bouncing boy terrors, blue tinted butlers, sentient squids, and the three-year-old Little Tiny Doom and her vengeful pink plush pig.
By turn whimsical and horrific (sometime in the same paragraph), Wilce’s stories have been categorized as “screwball comedies for goths.” They could also be described as “historical fantasies” or “fanciful histories,” for there are nuggets of historical fact hidden in them there lies.
Release Date: October 2014
Want another opinion? Check out reviews by Kirkus Reviews and Finding Wonderland.