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Steve Wiley
The Imagined Homecoming of Icarus Isakov
Steve Wiley, author
A homecoming tale unlike any other, The Imagined Homecoming of Icarus Isakov recounts the fantastical return home of goblin anti-hero and puckish narrator, Icarus Isakov. When Icarus receives a mysterious letter from the long-lost girl next door, he returns to the ghost town of his childhood in search of her. Icarus lodges at a mystical tavern, one serving memories instead of drinks. There, imbibing the past and exploring the present, Icarus is swept up on a wonderfully strange adventure, taking him from the depths of wish-filled seas to the highest of dream castle ramparts. Along the way, Icarus faces old demons with help from a curious cast of characters, including a forgetful faun, a drunken elf, and a chance mermaid. It will take all of them to find the girl next door, and to rediscovery home. The Imagined Homecoming of Icarus Isakov is a touching and thought-provoking ride through nostalgia, memory, and the fantasy of home. Icarus's playful narration style make the pages fly, and the magical tavern makes a stunning backdrop for this surreal odyssey.
Wiley (The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan) overloads this quirky, absurdist fantasy with colorful set pieces, leaving little room for suspense or emotion. When city-dwelling goblin Icarus Isakov unexpectedly receives a letter from his childhood crush, Ruby Rockhollow, with whom he long ago lost touch, he boards an airship back to his hometown of Rockville for a reunion. But when he arrives, he finds the town largely deserted and Ruby’s house reduced to rubble. Icarus has all but lost hope of finding her when he stumbles upon a bar that “serves memories instead of drinks” and is miraculously still open. His trip down memory lane offers clues that propel him on a dreamlike expedition to a lighthouse operated by a half man, half cat; onward to an empty castle; and finally to an abandoned mine—but he still can’t find Ruby. Disheartened once more, he returns to the bar, where the proprietor, Forgetful Faun, discovers a secret code in Ruby’s letter. Icarus is an empathetic hero, and the mystery of Ruby’s whereabouts carries the story, but the adventures are disappointingly half-baked as Wiley rushes from one big idea to the next, and the final twist falls flat. This is an uneven fantasy, but it’s not without its charms. (Self-published)