“Black Queen White City is positively cinematic…the novel is undeniably the product of an immensely fertile imagination brimming with confidence.
…rather like the superhero films of today, different people will enjoy different aspects.”
Jack Messenger, author and book reviewer
Book title: Black Queen, White City
Series: The White City Cycle, can be read as a standalone
Author: Sonya Kudei
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fantasy
Published: Trierarchy, 16 April 2018
~ Blurb ~
Set in contemporary Zagreb, Croatia (the “White City” of folklore), Black Queen, White City is inspired by local myths and legends as well as drawing on an eclectic mix of influences, including Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, Pratchett and Gaiman’s Good Omens, Dante’s The Divine Comedy, C.G. Jung, superhero comics and classic 1980s movies.
Leo Solar is a star daimon, a celestial being with powers so vast that he can literally blow up a sun (but not in a bad way – it’s all perfectly safe). This is why when he gets sent to Earth, more specifically, his least favorite part of it (Zagreb) with curtailed powers to undertake a dangerous frustrating mission, he is not the happiest star daimon in town.
Dario is a twenty-something former Zagreb University student whose search for meaning is continuously thwarted by the demands of his eccentric landlady. After he accidentally meets a mysterious stranger in a starry outfit who goes around town battling monsters from the Underworld, Dario’s life suddenly takes an interesting turn, and he soon finds himself caught in a flurry of action that includes the celestial realm above, a hidden magic realm below and the erstwhile ordinary Zagreb somewhere in between.
Stella is an 11-year-old girl whose dungeon-like school on the outskirts of East Zagreb is a bit of an evil magnet. One day she plays a creepy playground game with group of school friends, which inadvertently awakens the spirit of the fabled Black Queen, who, unbeknownst to the townspeople, still dwells in a deep enchanted chasm under Zagreb’s very own Bear Mountain.
The Celestial Realm (a.k.a. “outer space”) is a place where star daimons with enormous powers and questionable hairstyles perform valiant deeds in order to maintain the balance of the universe, while engaging in petty inter-stellar squabbles and meddling with the affairs of Earth.
All of these people, places and fictional constructs come together in an action-packed over-caffeinated culmination on October 31, colloquially referred to by locals as the Night of the Witches.
Also making an appearance are magic trams, football hooligans, belligerent egg-sellers, jaded small dogs, miniature monks, seductive snake-women and sadistic primary school teachers.
Read the first two chapters online: http://www.sonyakudei.com/book-preview/
~ Grab a copy! ~
~ Excerpt ~
In a hidden corner of the east flank of Central Europe (or the west flank of Eastern Europe, depending on your point of view), in a green valley of a winding river, there is a city that certain locals, during rare moments of inspiration, refer to as the White City, although the less poetically inclined, as well as those who don’t know anything about the place other than that it exists, call it Zagreb.
This is not the kind of noisy, hectic city that makes people stressed, obese, prone to rants about the accelerating pace of modern life, and likely to have a mid-career breakdown followed by an extensive backpacking trip to a remote country. If anything, it is fairly sober and subdued. If the White City were a character in a Regency novel, it would be one of those comely, level-headed types that ends up marrying the parson.
Neither is it the sort of city that just goes on and on until it becomes another city. Its shape and size are clearly delineated. There is a sprawling east-west axis and a somewhat stunted north-south one. The latter is due to the presence of a fairly high mountain on the city’s north side and a river in the south. The mountain, although not the comes-with-a-permanent-ice-cap sort of high, is still high enough to have cable cars, organized hiking trips and squirrels. And the river, although not an insurmountable obstacle in itself, has proved to be such a convenient barrier against various third parties that have attempted to invade the city over the course of many historical periods that the townspeople have been reluctant to cross it until very recently.
~ About the author ~
Sonya Kudei is a writer and artist with a BA in English Language and Literature and MA in Cognitive Linguistics. Her writing has been featured in The Atlantic Online and The Linguist Magazine. She has worked as a journalist, illustrator, graphic designer, subtitle translator, editor, teacher, product manager and (very briefly) tourist guide in Venice. She was also a web developer in London for over five years. Originally from Zagreb, Sonya has been living in the UK for over twelve years.