cover image Bone Weaver

Bone Weaver

Aden Polydoros. Inkyard, $19.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-335-91582-5

Polydoros (The City Beautiful) constructs a rich, Slavic-folklore-influenced world in this spirited adventure with emotional heft. Toma lives in the hinterlands of the Kosa Empire with her adoptive family of living dead beings called upyri. Despite not having met another living person in many years, she one day rescues airship crash survivor Mikhail and heals his wounds using magical embroidery techniques her birth mother taught her. A shaken Mikhail confesses he is the empire’s tsar, ousted by evil witch Koschei, who stole his magical powers and is spearheading a revolution against nobility. When the men hunting him instead take Toma’s younger sister, Galina, to appease Koschei’s fascination with the upyri, Toma and Mikhail follow the kidnappers to a small town. There, they meet prickly Vanya, part of a persecuted religious minority who can make plants grow rapidly, even from dead wood, and together the trio work to rescue Galina and return Mikhail to the throne—whether or not he wants to be there. Toma’s rapidly expanding worldview and joyful exploration of society beyond the hinterlands, after spending years in relative isolation with only her undead family for company, is captivating. Polydoros capably delivers an enchanting fantasy adventure, brimming with civil war allegiances, encounters with monsters, innovative magic systems, and fantastical new technology. Ages 13–up. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Sept.)