cover image Ink Blood Sister Scribe

Ink Blood Sister Scribe

Emma Törzs. Morrow, $27.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-325346-9

Törzs’s spellbinding fantasy debut imagines a parallel Earth where gruesome magical spell books are written with the blood and bodies of people known as Scribes. Nicholas is tired of living in the gilded cage that is the Library, home to the world’s largest collection of spellbooks, where he is routinely bled by his overbearing uncle, Richard Maxwell, to fulfill magical commissions. Elsewhere, Joanna Kalotay steadfastly guards a small collection of spellbooks of her own, barely leaving home and nightly setting protection charms to prevent detection. Meanwhile, her estranged sister, Esther, is constantly on the move, acting on a warning from their late father. She must relocate every year on November 2 “or the people who killed your mother will come for you, too. And not only you, Esther. They’ll come for your sister.” But when a mysterious note tells Esther it’s time to finally return home to Joanna, she risks everything to reunite with her sister. Unraveling the twisty mysteries that connect Nicholas to the Kalotay sisters and dismantling the dark constraints on their lives keep both characters and readers guessing throughout. Meanwhile, threads of hope and love keep the grimly gorgeous worldbuilding from growing too dark. Törzs’s lyrical, idiosyncratic prose (at one point, the sky is described as “so pale it seemed infected”) elevates proceedings. This is a must-read. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME. (June)