cover image Garden of the Cursed (Garden of the Cursed #1)

Garden of the Cursed (Garden of the Cursed #1)

Katy Rose Pool. Holt, $19.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-84666-2

Pool (the Age of Darkness trilogy) fuses fantasy, mystery, and romance in this transfixing duology opener set in Caraza City, where spellcraft knowledge is regulated by the politically powerful Five Families. Because of her mother’s station as the right hand of a Five Families patriarch, Marlow Briggs leads a privileged life learning spellcraft alongside the families’ young elites. After her mother vanishes, Marlow, now 17, dwells in the gang-run Marshes and works as a cursebreaker, seeking out and destroying the sources of hexes. When Five Families scion Adrius Falcrest, 18, asks Marlow for help with breaking a dangerous curse, she hesitates. Though Adrius and Marlow were once friends bordering on more, he publicly rebuffed her, breaking Marlow’s heart. But regaining access to the Five Families would allow Marlow to investigate her mother’s disappearance. Posing as Adrius’s girlfriend to keep their agreement—and her snooping—discreet, Marlow swallows her pride and dives back in to the affluent world that once rejected her. High-stakes action and bureaucratic intrigue abound, but it’s Marlow and Adrius’s charged relationship that keeps tensions elevated, continuously knocking confident Marlow off-kilter. Sumptuous worldbuilding and fully realized, intersectionally diverse characters further enhance this enticing tale. Ages 14–up. Agents: Alexandra Machinist and Hillary Jacobson, ICM Partners. (June)