cover image Spells of Blood and Kin

Spells of Blood and Kin

Claire Humphrey. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-07634-2

Human warmth underlies this exciting and furiously paced fable of fur, fangs, and family. Emphasizing intricate family dynamics alongside shape-changing and magic, Humphrey’s debut merges victim and victimizer, reality and the occult. Lissa inherits the role of koldun’ia (witch) and is instructed by her grandmother’s spirit to aid Maksim, a shape-shifter in Toronto. Maksim is remorseful after accidentally infecting Nick, a college student, with lycanthropy. He begs assistance from Lissa and Augusta, a woman he turned, to find Nick before he fully transforms. While Maksim battles internal demons, Lissa struggles to master her powers and faces family rifts exposed by her stepsister’s sudden arrival. Intimately constructed relationships and domestic strife enrich bursts of violence and sensuality. Genre tropes are strengthened by fully realized characters and confident prose. Humphrey dissects the monsters who walk among us—and those hiding within our skins—with a critical yet understanding eye. This paranormal tale stands out even in its very crowded field. Agent: Connor Goldsmith, Fuse Literary. (June)