If Miguel de Cervantes & Lewis Carroll collaborated, this would be the book. A beautifully written 16th-century fantasy that, at its core, seems all too reminiscent of today’s current atmosphere. It’s as enchanting as it is hilarious.
—Stacy, King’s Books, Tacoma, WA. . .
This is a tough one to describe, because as soon as I start I’m afraid I’ll scare some of you off. Avian demigods? Fertility goddesses? An epic journey to the Isle of the Dead to recover a lost love? Sure, fantasy fans will hear me out, but the rest of you should, too. Drawing on European, Asian, and North American folk traditions, Stevan Allred plows the oldest narrative field there is, the open commons that existed before anyone thought of subdividing it with genre fences. Pure story, in other words, once-upon-a-time stuff that doesn’t seem fringy at all. Turns out that a modern version of ancient myth involving love, death, and talking birds is exactly what we need in these trying times.
—James, Madison Books, Seattle, WA. . .
There’s all manner of craziness in The Alehouse at the End of the World: a giant beast who’s swallowed the spirit world, a hairless blue fisherman, a trio of shape-shifting god-birds, a self-aggrandizing (Trumpian?) crow, the Isle of the Dead, a feathered goddess, and a dead woman who’s… well, you’ll see. Yet underneath these fantastical guises lie the same hearts that can be found in all of us: some are kind, some are driven, some are evil, some are insatiable, and in spite of their nonhuman forms, they are all so very human.
In this magical world, the net of a dark fate tightens around the existence of this motley crew, and an apocalypse is brewing on the horizon. This is why adults still need fairy tales: there are some archetypes more familiar than our own faces, and they help us survive, they teach us to live, they compel us to grow. Allred has the sly and quixotic writing chops to pull off this charming story, which is both wickedly funny and achingly poignant. He manages his characters as well as a puppeteer, and imbues them with such heartfelt passion and pathos, it’s mesmerizing. Do not miss this delightful tale that will remind you how precious humanity is, in whichever form you find it. Bravo!
–Dianah H., Powells.com, Portland, OR