Little Badger, Darcie

A Snake Falls to Earth

(2) YA This original and suspenseful fantasy explores perceptions and understandings of space, time, identity, environmentalism, communication, and "the rightness of home." Nina, a human, is determined to translate a haunting Spanish and Lipan Apache oral story passed down by her late great-great-grandmother. Oli, a cottonmouth snake and animal person from the "world of spirits of monsters," will do anything to save his toad friend Ami, who has become ill because his Earth equivalent species is near extinction. Nina's and Oli's worlds are connected; a portal between them has something to do with a "pseudosun" in Oli's Reflecting World and temperature and magnetic anomalies on Nina's family land. The two characters eventually unite and together deal with a trickster mockingbird; an untrustworthy internet influencer; severe weather; and the threat of violent, cultish followers of a power-hungry "King" (a.k.a. "the Nightmare") who aims to be the only immortal left on Earth. They also use magic and learn why Nina's grandmother's health mysteriously declines whenever she leaves the family's land. Chapters alternate in voice and perspective, with the characters' worlds skillfully delineated and stories masterfully woven together. Modern dialogue, which offers further depth to characterization, intermingles with elements of traditional storytelling and family history, creating an imaginative and multilayered work of speculative fiction.


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