Inequality, economics, and postapocalyptic necromancy combine persuasively in Sumner-Smith’s ingenious, insightful debut. Born without the “bright magic” commonly used as currency and power, 15-year-old Xhea is a nonperson in a sharply divided society of floating Towers and earthbound ruins, forced to scrounge a living from her unusual ability to see and manipulate ghosts. Shai Nalani is the living ghost of a “Radiant,” one of the wellsprings of raw bright magic who serve as “part mint, part power plant” to the constantly competing Towers. After Xhea takes possession of Shai’s ghost, fast-paced intrigue between Towers follows, as does the awakening of Xhea’s own “dark magic” with its complex power over death and the tantalizing promise of sweeping social change. With a clean, evocative style (“Outside, the world was the grey of fishing weights and galvanized nails”), a clever transposition of corporate warfare into a feudal future, and a strong, complementary pair of protagonists, Sumner-Smith’s Towers Trilogy is off to a captivating start. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014 Release date: 09/01/2014 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.