Cathedral of Bones

A.J. Steiger. HarperCollins, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-293479-6
The Lovecraftian world of Stieger’s (When My Heart Joins the Thousand) middle grade debut neatly matches both audience and genre. In the city of Eidendel, the powerful Foundation oversees the training and employment of magic users—Animists—in the service of the Continent’s Queen. Fourteen-year-old Simon Frost, the disappointing, traumatized scion of a powerful Animist family, is languishing in the Foundation’s mail room when a small town asks the organization for assistance in dispatching a local monster. Simon knows the Foundation’s institutional indifference will result in no official help being sent, so he abandons his position to go to the town’s aid. When the monster turns out to be something impossible—a tentacled, draconian creature that is also a human child—Simon is drawn into a web of conspiracy involving his family, the Foundation, and unspeakable eldritch horrors. Steiger’s pervasive, matter-of-fact creepiness begins with small, almost sweet touches—imps working as street sweepers—and builds in terror as the pages turn. Many of the creatures are beautifully imagined and vividly described, and a prevailing tone of earnestness and hope balances the decay and dread to create an ideal first experience of a horror standby suited to middle graders who don’t mind mild gore. Ages 8–12. Agent: Claire Anderson-Wheeler, Regal Hoffman & Assoc. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/10/2020
Release date: 02/16/2021
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-293481-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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