A girl with no gifts must bargain for the power to fight her own mother’s dark schemes—even if the price is her life.
Crackling with dark magic, unspeakable betrayal, and daring twists you won’t see coming, this explosive YA fantasy debut is a can’t-miss, high-stakes epic perfect for fans of Strange the Dreamer and Children of Blood and Bone.
“Magnetic and addictive. This book is black girl magic at its finest.”—New York Times bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton
Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.
But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it—by trading away years of her own life.
Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford.
Set in a richly imagined world inspired by whispered tales of voodoo and folk magic, Rena Barron’s captivating debut is the beginning of a thrilling saga about a girl caught between gods, monsters, and the gift and the curse of power.
“Masterful.”—SLJ (starred review)
Every year, Arrah, the unexceptional 16-year-old daughter of two potent witch doctors, travels with her father from the city of Tamar to the kingdom's tribal lands for the ceremonial summoning of Heka, the orisha who gives magic to mortals. Nobody older than 16 has ever come into magical gifts, so after this year's sacrament fails to trigger a change in Arrah, she loses hope. There is a rite that allows an ordinary individual to trade years of his or her life for enough magic to execute a single spell, but Arrah has never been sufficiently desperate to try it, until someone starts stealing Tamar's children. After performing the ritual, she learns the terrible truth about the kidnapper's identity and uncovers a plan to free the soul-devouring Demon King one that she has no clue how to stop. First in a planned trilogy, Barron's West Africa inspired fantasy debut is a slow-burning, character-driven tale of vengeance, greed, sacrifice, and star-crossed romance. Organic worldbuilding and a rich central mythology featuring a vibrant pantheon of fallible gods ground Barron's intricate, if occasionally convoluted, story, which thoughtfully examines issues of faith and free will. Ages 13 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I absolutely love it. This book is powerful, it makes me feel good and it gets me think. Keeps me on the edge of my seat.