book review: The Red Khémèresh

I read Mab Morris’s absorbing, fascinating novella The Red Khémèresh in one sitting and found myself still thinking about the characters and setting for days afterward. The author does an impressive job of evoking a Mongolia-like steppe society and creating a fully developed mythology as a matrix within which the characters pursue their goals. And I love the protagonist, Phayaden, a seemingly failed shaman who may or may not be mad, walking a thin line between this world and the spirit world, trying her best to fulfill her duty to her family even as a mysterious stranger pulls her into a conflict that ripples out far beyond anything she has previously known.