The Threads of Magic

Alison Croggon. Candlewick, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0719-4
When 12-year-old pickpocket Pipistrel, who has fair hair and pale skin, lifts an ornate silver box from a noble on the streets of Clarel, he’s just hoping to support his older sister El, who is sometimes “very like a small child,” and himself, orphaned as toddlers due to typhus. But inside the box is a sinister “rough black” Stone Heart, an object of great power sought by some of the most commanding people in the kingdom. The siblings’ quest to understand the heart takes them to Amina, El’s best friend’s mother, a witch with dark skin hiding from the ruthless Office for Witchcraft Extermination. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Princess Georgette, “a slim, fair girl” with “aristocratically blue eyes,” is desperate to escape an arranged marriage to the terrifying King Oswald of Awemt, and also seeks Amina, her old nurse. Their fates intertwined, these unlikely allies must keep the heart from the immortal body-stealing Specters, who crave its magical potential. Logistics issues dampen enjoyment, but Croggon (the Books of Pellinor series) subverts genre expectations and offers up multiple perspectives—both heroic and villainous—to weave a complicated tapestry of magic and sacrifice. Ages 9–12. Agent: Jenny Darling and Assoc. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/11/2021
Release date: 04/13/2021
Genre: Children's
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