Fifteen-year-old Wilhelmina “Wil” Heidle is a “spare,” fourth in line to the throne of Arrod behind Owen the heir, gifted alchemist Gerdie, and the unrelentingly cruel Baren. During an attack by a ruffian, Wil discovers that her touch can turn people into gemstones, killing them. She’s horrified, and Owen warns her that their father will surely use her for his own purposes. Hoping to gain the king’s favor, Wil sets out on a spying mission but accidentally kills Owen. Exiled by her father, a grief-stricken Wil sets out into the world, hoping to find someone to help her; when she meets the mysterious Loom, she is shocked to discover that he’s immune to her touch. Wil is sympathetic, and her power (although limited) is terrifying, but DeStefano (the Chemical Garden series) doesn’t imbue the larger cast with many standout characteristics. The worldbuilding is thinly sketched, as well: telephones, dirigibles, data goggles, and digital technology exist alongside traditional fantasy elements in a way that makes it hard to get a full sense of the setting. Ages 13–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2017 Release date: 10/01/2017 Genre: Children's
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