"Fantasy at its most sublime!"--Erin Morgenstern, New York Times bestselling author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS
"Suspenseful, magical, wonderfully written… An essential addition to all epic-fantasy collections." —Booklist, STARRED review
A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride…
Judah is an orphaned girl with a secret gift, born at the gates of Highfall castle. Raised alongside Gavin, heir to Lord Elban's empire, the two share an extrasensory bond—one that is key to Judah's survival and her possible undoing.
Elban—as mighty as he is cruel—plans to use Judah as a pawn to amass greater control. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
But beyond the castle walls, a magus, a healer with his own powerful force, has arrived from the provinces. He, too, has designs on the realm, and at the heart of his plans lies Judah… The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon discover her own strength. Intriguingly, she does not have to be given power: she can just take it.
The dense, challenging first fantasy by Braffet (Save Yourself) drips with atmosphere and intrigue but features heroes with frustratingly little control over their own fates. On the same day that Gavin, heir to Lord Elban of Highfall, was born, foundling Judah was brought to Highfall and subsequently raised by his side. She and Gavin have shared a mystical bond since childhood; injuries to one also afflict the other. Now young adults, the cruel Lord Elban has plans for both Judah and Gavin, but his unnamed Seneschal has schemes of his own, as does Nathaniel Clare, a healer hired to attend to them. Nathaniel is a secret agent of the Slonimi, wanderers who have worked for generations in order to place one of their own in a position to meet Judah and use her untapped power to undo a magical binding that affects their world. The setup makes for a fascinating political chess game, though much of the action takes place off-page. Braffet's tale is a study in suffering and cruelty but also in determination, particularly on the part of Judah. Readers who enjoy complex characters will find much to savor here.
Rich and Rewarding Storytelling
This story was a sharp and intriguing dip into a new world of fantasy. The author puts everything into each line and enriched the story with powerfully imaginative details. As the start of a series this book will be well worth the reread to see how some of the minor bits tie into the next books and (of course) it is an excellent standalone book as well.