When he acquires a silver box containing a mysterious shriveled heart, an orphan boy suddenly finds his life in peril…A fascinating, fantastical cast of characters with competing interests and motivations adds richness to this suspenseful tale of unexpected alliances…Sinister assassins, ghoulish Specters, and feisty witches make this a rousing read.
Readers will immediately settle comfortably into this deftly written high-adventure fantasy… the theme that power without love must be defeated drives the story. And it’s a fun world to be in. The close buildings, cobblestones, and mucky streets of Clarel bring the Victorian gothic mood of Laura Amy Schlitz’s Splendors and Glooms to mind, while the worldbuilding and adventure will be enjoyed by Cornelia Funke fans.
—School Library Journal
Croggon’s interesting world spans a variety of perspectives that add tension and insight at integral moments. The premise and the power-squabbling between the Specters, maneuvering with and against each other, are intriguing, but the distinct characters and a vein of humor that ensures the story never takes itself too seriously are really where this novel shines. Australian author Croggon, author of The Books of Pellinor series, delivers another great story targeted toward a younger audience in this new page turner.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
. . . 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.
There are shadowy assassins to dodge, mysterious Specters to stop, and rips in the fabric of reality to mend, but Pip and El have a host of unlikely allies in their corner, including a wayward princess and a coven of underground witches. It’s a beautifully crafted story. . . The young protagonists are easy to befriend, acting believably bewildered, bothered, or brave in turn, and the villains are deliciously menacing. Fantasy fans will feel right at home in this magical, marvelous world.