Review by Thurston Howl
Ok, hear me out. Imagine Redwall mixed with Game of Thrones mixed with a healthy dose of Phil Geusz' post-apocalyptic science fiction. That's what you're getting with Jaysen Headley's newest book, Longtails: The Storms of Spring.
In a mildly futuristic Earth, society is comprised of anthropomorphic animals who use swords and magic alongside super-advanced technology. Of course, "science fantasy" is an emerging genre still, and it's great to see this in a furry book. We follow the main mousetagonist Del Hatherhorne who is claimed to be a nobody much like Harry Potter who naturally finds himself to be born with certain special talents, namely the ability to use multiple elements of magic.
Part of the more metaphorical magic of this book is the amount of worldbuilding the author put into this work. It is such a rich and advanced world with history, lore, literature, and politics. It is such a unique world.
However, I'd hesitate to give the book a full five stars. The tone is at such odds with itself, mostly being a very young adult style—similar to Harry Potter (the early books) or the Redwall series—but then having bloody scenes that are sharp, shocking, visceral, and grotesque. It reminds me of Kurtis Jobling's young adult animal fantasy series because of that contrast in audience.
At times, the dialogue comes off as incredibly choppy and unrealistic. We have this amazing world to explore, but it's hard to want to explore it with fairly simple characters who are generally hard to bond with. When it comes to plot, the narrative is fairly straightforward as a young adult fantasy.
However, if you are an avid devourer of fantasy literature, then please check this out. The worldbuilding is delightful. Its pacing may seem pedantic at points, especially the beginning, but it does get better. And you will find yourself asking where you would fit in this society if given the choice.
I also want to commend the book as a product itself. The cover is stunning considering this isn't done by one of the "major houses," and the interior layout is likewise impressive.
Would I join the Longtails? Hells yeah.