From Publishers Weekly
Scattershot plotting and puzzling theology notwithstanding, there's much to like in Gilman's first novel, fantasy set in the ever-shifting city of Ararat. Once a gifted composer in the distant city of Gad, Arjun has come to Ararat seeking the intangible Voice. Instead, he finds a city filled with other gods, streets that resist being mapped and citizens touched in varying ways by the passing of the mysterious Bird. Gilman's literary antecedents are intriguingly diverse. Ararat itself fuses elements of Renaissance Venice and Victor Hugo's Paris. Arjun's search leads at times into gaslight-era SF à la Jules Verne, at others into distinctly Poe-like horror, while a secondary plot transforms street youth Jack into a hybrid of Peter Pan and Dickens's Artful Dodger. Impressively, the whole remains essentially coherent, though just how and why Ararat's gods behave as they do is unclear, and parts of the convoluted climax rely too heavily on underexplained aspects of the city's nature. Nonetheless, strongly conveyed atmosphere and intriguing characters make this a distinctive debut. (Dec.)
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"Gilman takes his readers on a journey through a world of deep and wondrous impossibilities where marvels lurk around every corner. His infinite city and the lives of its people quickly become an irresistible compulsion— I imagine an evening where Dickens, Miyazaki, and Jules Verne sat down to dream up a metropolis and its wrangling multitudes. Thunderer
will leave you wide eyed, breathless and hoping for more."—David Keck, author of In the Eye of Heaven
“Memorably inventive, with intriguing characters ... impressive.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Gilman is far above average for a first novelist."—Booklist
“Entrancing. A subtle mix of magic realism and epic fantasy, with the beauty of the former and the worldbuilding of the latter. Recommended for any who want to sit back for a spell and just dream.” —Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn
“Incredibly imaginative—a brilliant new author.” —Jeff VanderMeer, author of Shriek
“Carries the day with panache and boldness and ingenuity…What Gilman has achieved here is something exotic and Borgesian, a novel that never stumbles or disappoints.”—
SciFi.com, Grade: A