The Kingdom of Little Wounds

Susann Cokal. Candlewick, $22.99 (576p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6694-1
“I have always loved a fairy tale.” So says Ava Bingen, a young seamstress in the palace of the fictional Scandinavian city of Skyggehaven. Dark and bloody fairy tales inform this dense, 16th-century narrative, richly layered with multiple viewpoints: Ava, the mad Queen Isabel, the dangerously weak King Christian, the diabolically ambitious Lord Nicolas, and the mute, literate African nursery-slave, Midi Sorte. In her first novel for young adults, adult author Cokal (Mirabilis; Breath and Bones) explores the landscape of the female body as it has been for so long: property of parents or husband, subject to the needs of family and state. During a time of deadly court intrigue and disturbing portents—a new star in the sky, a muddy vortex in the earth—Ava, Midi, and Isabel negotiate their individual paths of survival until their fates are woven together, giving them a chance to save the kingdom and each other. Though the novel’s frank and upsetting depictions of rape, child-marriage, miscarriage, and syphilis mark this title for mature readers, its brutality, eloquence, and scope are a breathtaking combination. Ages 16–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/23/2013
Release date: 10/08/2013
Genre: Children's
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Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-7636-8757-1
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