cover image Deeplight


Frances Hardinge. Amulet, $19.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4320-7

For centuries, denizens of the Myriad archipelago “served, feared, and adored” the magical, monsterlike gods that routinely rose from the Undersea and terrorized them. Then, 30 years before this book’s beginning, the gods inexplicably slaughtered each other, leaving behind only fragments. A chunk of “godware” can now fetch a fortune, provided its lingering power is sufficiently strange. On the island of Lady’s Crave, storyteller Hark, 14 and orphaned, survives by swindling godware-hunting prospects—until his dodgy best friend, Jelt, involves him in a dangerous heist. Hark gets caught and becomes indentured to Dr. Magdala Vyne, a godware expert who promises Hark a better life if he cuts ties with his past. Jelt won’t let go, however, and bullies Hark into joining a perilous expedition during which Jelt nearly drowns. Hark finds a bit of pulsing godware that resurrects him, but the discovery proves more curse than blessing. Equal parts dazzling fantasy, swashbuckling adventure, and tender coming-of-age tale, this ambitious standalone from Hardinge (A Skinful of Shadows) cautions against xenophobia, zealotry, and greed while using boldly drawn characters to illustrate storytelling’s power and fear’s role in faith. Ages 12–up. [em](Apr.) [/em]