ISBN 978-1-4926-3582-6 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-10
In this sweeping high fantasy, Chupeco concocts a grim world of magic, both light and dark, and of one bone witch in particular, Tea. Tea learns of her powers after she raises her brother Fox from the dead, a rare ability indeed, and one that garners much suspicion. Fortunately, she’s taken under the wing of those who can train her, helping her harness her magic in ways that can help others and keep the land itself balanced. Fox is a constant companion, protective, loyal, and steady in spite of his undead nature. The setup is intriguing, as short italicized snippets precede a verbal exchange between Tea and a storyteller, who sought her out because of the legends surrounding her, and who now has seven days to collect as many memories from her as possible. The longer chapters are focused on Tea’s evolution from child to old soul, though she is only seventeen by novel’s end. Horror buffs who enjoyed Chupeco’s earlier novels (The Suffering, BCCB 12/15, etc.) may find this a sharp tonal shift as it is much more fantasy than horror, but the author’s keen [End Page 304] eye for exploring the afterlife is consistent, and there are plenty of chilling scenes that prove this novel fits within both genres effectively. A map and description of the primary kingdoms are necessary orientation tools.