Rust in the Root: Book summary and reviews of Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland

Rust in the Root

by Justina Ireland

Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland X
Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland
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About this book

Book Summary

The author of the visionary New York Times bestseller Dread Nation returns with another spellbinding historical fantasy set at the crossroads of race and power in America.

It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology—otherwise known as Mechomancy—not the traditional mystical arts.

Laura disagrees. A talented young queer mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage's license and becoming something more than a rootworker.

But four months later, she's got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane's Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice.

As they're sent off on their first mission together into the heart of the country's oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America's past, when Black mages were killed for their power—work that could threaten Laura's and the Skylark's lives, and everything they've worked for.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Ireland delivers a knockout punch in this fantastical steampunk take on the Great Depression...Ireland mingles an in-depth understanding of human nature with a wildly ambitious reimagining of the Depression era, balancing matters of race, gender, and sexuality in this thoroughly unique perspective of historical magical fantasy. B&W photographs depicting real-life U.S. history, featured throughout, enrich the narrative." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Readers are thrust into complex worldbuilding with familiar parallels to our world. Ireland makes advanced concepts accessible, and old photos, articles, and investigative reports bolster her uncanny ability to weave painful, real history into this new world. The bold narrative...culminates in a captivating ending that eerily echoes many of the issues that presently plague the country, describing the destructive nature of capitalism and the impact its oppression wreaks on a nation. Insightful, admirable, and well executed." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Ireland has confidently merged the historical and the mystical into a fast-paced, complex, and entertaining read." - The Horn Book

This information about Rust in the Root was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Justina Ireland Author Biography

Justina Ireland is the author of Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), a New York Times bestseller as well as the sequel Deathless Divide. Her earlier works include the fantasy young adult novels Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows (both Simon and Schuster).

Justina also writes for the Star Wars franchise, including the books Lando's Luck, Spark of the Resistance, and the upcoming A Test of Courage, part of the High Republic publishing initiative.

She is the former co-editor in chief of FIYAH Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, for which she won a World Fantasy Award. She holds a BA from Armstrong Atlantic University and an MFA from Hamline University.

Link to Justina Ireland's Website

Other books by Justina Ireland at BookBrowse
  • Dread Nation jacket
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