Fog & Fireflies

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In master storyteller T.H. Lehnen’s debut novel, Fog & Fireflies, 14-year-old Ogma of the Windmill town takes her job seriously. As one of the children who must walk the tall walls of the village, minding the fog and chasing phantoms away, she knows that it’s not a game anymore like the younger ones tend to think. The fog shifts villages, obscures everything, plays tricks, and hides monsters. It kills adults, but not children. It is ever unpredictable, but the first thing that upsets the village isn’t the fog exactly, but the arrival of an outsider, followed by caravaners—visitors who fly the fog. Eventually, Ogma may be forced into the fog on her own. And what she might find there, she can only imagine.

Ogma’s character is brave and responsible, but she is still a child, curious and captivated by the caravaners and their wares. All of the other children who watch the wall are likable, while the villagers, who are clearly not the focus of the book, remain somewhat distant throughout the story. As I read, so many new features of the fog unfolded. To think of the fog as one thing, like a single malicious cloud, would be false, as it holds so many complexities and even shifts time. Nothing is concrete.

Author T.H. Lehnen puts a lot of detail into his writing. For example, he gives one character, Dunkirk, a wound that sounds very realistic, which makes the story feel very lifelike. It helped set up a vibrant scene in my imagination as I read. Less thoughtful authors gloss over elements like this and oversimplify them. But Lehnen takes tremendous (and much appreciated) effort to let readers see everything that transpires in his imagination without being overly wordy. There is a good balance between storytelling and dialogue throughout the work. Lehnen does include some heavy themes, like death, abuse, terror, and parentification. So the story is not quite suitable for young children.

Overall, Fog & Fireflies is a truly unique and enjoyable piece of fantasy fiction. It starts at a level that is already below the surface, and it just gets compellingly deeper and deeper. Lehnen kept me hooked with the many threads he left hanging throughout parts of the book. The only thing that might be improved upon is clarity in the mechanics of the world he has created, yet still, I could hardly ask for a better fantasy.

Reviewed By:

Author T.H. Lehnen
Star Count 5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 375 pages
Publisher Aspen & Thorn Press
Publish Date 11-Apr-2024
ISBN 9798989861019 Buy this Book
Issue March 2024
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy