However something happens during a brief stopover in Chicago when the nuns take the children to visit the World's fair. Jackson witnesses the mistreatment of a girl with snake limbs like himself and meets a mysterious black eyed girl. Shaken by the events Jackson is calmed by Sister Jerome Grace who shows him he is not alone and tells him he needs to continue to San Francisco so he can learn to become all that he is.
Upon reaching California, he meets the woman who has requested him from the orphanage and is thrust into a world unlike that of his previous life. This world is full of magical people, a city divided into territories, and the black eyed girl glimpsed in Chicago reappears and is a key player in the events which unfurl in the months after Jackson arrives in the city. Not everything is as it seems, and Jackson seems to be the catalyst to a climactic battle between two enemies.
I was drawn into this novella. It was written with a fantastic mix of realism, fantasy and blending in mythology. This author is new to me and I really enjoyed her writing quite a bit. I ended the story wanting to know more and wishing it had been a full length novel. There were so many fantastic supporting characters and surroundings that I would have loved to explore more of. However as this was Jackson's story I understand why less focus was made on them. I also loved the mythology aspects to the story it really made this alternate nineteenth century United States an intriguing world where magic still exists alongside new technology and nothing is quite what it seems. Jackson's struggle to learn who he is and what he believes in as he is thrown into events which challenge his beliefs.
I received this as part of librarything's June early reviewer program for my honest opinion about the book.