3 of 5 stars.
When gods and mortals meet, one might expect a bit of the divine, or perhaps a momentous occasion on the part of the humans if not both parties. This quizzical tale follows a god, Mendel, wandering out of the desert and into a small Mexican mesa village. The humans seem to recognize him for what he is without being overly surprised or moved. Nor do they beseech him with requests or prayers despite rampart poverty and disease.
Much is left unexplained, such as why Mendel’s covered in blood at the beginning or why monstrous liliths hunt him. Why does Mendel collect human children? And what is the significance of a child he deems a daughter of John Demetrius?
Regardless, the tale’s interesting and well-paced. The protagonist’s neither likable nor detestable. He fights demons and collects children for what one can hope is good purposes. He may have the ability to elevate children to his status of god-like. And yet his bartering of basic medical knowledge at the expense of the humans is rather slimy.
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2016 edited by Rich Horton, which I received directly from Prime Books.
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