By: Kate Pentecost
Publication Date: April 14th, 2020
In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.
When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.
Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.
- Top reasons to read Elysium Girls
I suppose the top reason to read Elysium Girls would be if you like history, if you like the Weird West subgenre, and you want to read about some witches in a gang.
I love the camaraderie of girl gang books, and that’s what I tried to create in this one. I hope I was successful!
Another reason to read Elysium Girls would be if you’re interested in an apocalypse in the PAST that characters are actively working to thwart.
And finally, if you’re looking for a WLW feminist read that isn’t didactic while remaining positive (and which has a daemon who is, by all accounts, a pretty non-toxic dude) I recommend it. 🙂
- Top fun or little known facts about Elysium Girls (about the characters, world, deleted scenes, etc)
A lot of the things in Elysium Girls were real in different places and times throughout history. For example, the Elysian practice of burying one’s dead within walls of the city was inspired by the building of the Great Wall of China (and several other lesser known walls throughout history.)
Dust Sickness is based off of Dust Pneumonia, which was a real sickness that was common in Dust Bowl era Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. It’s not exactly the same, but some things, like there literally being MUD in one’s lungs, are real symptoms of Dust Pneumonia.
There are still dust storms in the Oklahoma Panhandle. The damage that was done during the Dust Bowl era was never completely undone.
Sal’s mother was originally alive in the story and was supposed to die while Sal was exiled, but it really slowed the pacing, so we killed her completely during the editing process. Sorry, Myrtle! 🙁
- Top favorite books or book characters
My favorite books of all time are sort of Classics of Children’s Literature.
My top book of all time is The Last Unicorn because it’s just such a beautiful book in every way. Strange and beautiful and timeless and funny. I can’t recommend it enough.
After that, I love The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It’s endlessly (ha!) creative and is a celebration of not only the written word, but the power to create as being a healing power. If you write portal fantasy, you HAVE to read this book.
Then, probably Watership Down. Yes, it’s about bunnies trying to find a new warren, but the world and culture building are just so strong. The bunnies’ quest is also similar to old-school epics like the Iliad or the Odyssey, and I’m just so into it.
Kate Pentecost was born and raised on the Texas/Louisiana border, where ghosts and rural legends lurk in the pines and nothing is completely as it seems.
She holds an MFA in Writing for Children &Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was recently nominated for a Rhysling award for her poem “Small Town Witches.”
Her debut novel, Elysium Girls, is forthcoming from Disney Hyperion in 2020 in print and audio formats.
She is obsessed with the Romantic Poets and can be identified by the enormous tattoo of Percy Bysshe Shelley on her arm. She lives in Houston (H-Town, Space City, etc.)
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by The Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours.