[A]lmost de Sadean in its rich, sumptuous details.
—The New York Times Book Review
The events at court are recounted in richly detailed prose that renders immediate the sights and smells of a time when science was deeply intertwined with superstition and politics was a blood sport. … The novel demands and rewards full immersion in its account of the everyday life, beliefs, and medical practices of the royals, and readers will definitely come away with a (dis)taste for the cultural history of the Renaissance. … Cokal skillfully and unapologetically blurs the lines between fairy tale and history.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
[T]he novel’s … brutality, eloquence, and scope are a breathtaking combination.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This novel is distinctive in thought and elocution, but it is also dense and full of adult content.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Complex and carefully crafted — mesmerizing.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Cokal creates a mystical, shadowy setting full of intrigue and hidden passions.
The author seamlessly interweaves crooked fairy tales throughout her dark story… [T]he book’s lyrical writing, enthralling characters, and compelling plot will give older readers lots to ponder
Brazen, baroque, The Kingdom of Little Wounds plots coordinates of history, fever, and magic in such a way that each is occasionally disguised as the other. However, there’s no disguising Susann Cokal’s immediate rise to eminence as a pantocrator of new realms. I lived in her controversial kingdom for only a week, but I suspect and hope I shall never recover.
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and What-the-Dickens
There are deep and shallow reading experiences; this is a deep reading experience. There is nothing like it, though the fossil record flashes all kinds of petticoat. (Sigrid Undset. Margaret Atwood.) Elegant, complex, and sharp as a needle.
—Blythe Woolston, winner of the William Morris Prize and author of Black Helicopters
An epic, mercurial tale of astounding beauty, power, and madness.
—Gigi Amateau, author of Claiming Georgia Tate
Cokal’s complex and dark fairy tale is not merely a primer of Renaissance cultural life — it’s a window cut directly into that world.
—San Francisco Chronicle
By combining fantasy with an incredibly realistic depiction of Renaissance Europe, Cokal brings to life a world that easily could have been a true one. Her exquisite descriptions spring off the page and into your senses. Just as easily as you marvel at the ornate details of a gown, you’ll wrinkle your nose at the scent of unwashed courtiers’ bodies and uncleaned chambers. You’ll gasp at the iniquities of the time and root for the unaristocratic underdogs. Cokal makes Skyggehavn as real as any writer can make her fictional realm.