In this spellbinding debut novel, two estranged half-sisters tasked with guarding their family’s library of magical books must work together to unravel a deadly secret at the heart of their collection–a tale of familial loyalty and betrayal, and the pursuit of magic and power.

For generations, the Kalotay family has guarded a collection of ancient and rare books. Books that let a person walk through walls or manipulate the elements–books of magic that half-sisters Joanna and Esther have been raised to revere and protect.

All magic comes with a price, though, and for years the sisters have been separated. Esther has fled to a remote base in Antarctica to escape the fate that killed her own mother, and Joanna’s isolated herself in their family home in Vermont, devoting her life to the study of these cherished volumes. But after their father dies suddenly while reading a book Joanna has never seen before, the sisters must reunite to preserve their family legacy. In the process, they’ll uncover a world of magic far bigger and more dangerous than they ever imagined, and all the secrets their parents kept hidden; secrets that span centuries, continents, and even other libraries . . .

Audiobook Review

4 stars

Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld (one of my favorite narrators)

I nearly DNF that book but I am glad I didn’t!

The beginning of the story was confusing as we follow three characters: Joanna, Esther and Nicholas. Each character has some. negative feeling at the beginning, making that story quite heavy to read. Add to it that the magic system is quite unique and explained progressively and I was a bit lost.

Joanna is feeling lonely and angry.
Her sister Esther left when she was eighteen and never came back, even when her father died from bleeding too much after holding one of his precious magic books. Joanna begged Esther to come back home but to no avail.
Since that moment, Joanna is living in their family house, alone, protecting magical books and reinforcing the wards every night. She is also trying to understand why that book killed her father and how a magic book can be written but without much success so far.
It’s a lonely existence.

Esther is feeling hunted and on a deadline.
It’s been one year since she began working as an electrician in Antarctica. Usually, she would have left at the beginning of November, as instructed by her father. She knows that the people who killed her mother for her books are after her. The only way to escape them is to move every year at the same date. Yet this time, she is staying because she fell in love with Pearl, a fellow worker on the station. But is she endangering Pearl? Should she leave? Who is leaving blood marks on mirrors? And who caught her favorite book, heirloom from her mother?

Nicholas is feeling caged and frustrated. Isolated too.
Nicholas is a scribe. Coming from a line of scribes, working for the Library, his blood is magic and he can create magic books by literally writing with his blood.
When he was thirteen, people kidnapped him and took one of his eyes. The same people who killed his parents. Raised by his uncle, he is protected all the time and can’t go out, for his own good. Perpetually anemic and lacking red blood cells, his life is maybe a life of luxury but it’s also a golden prison.

As you can see, nothing to rejoice for these characters and it dragged me down too.

The setting of the scene was also on the slow side but now I can say that it was much needed. The world is complex and the magic system unique. The author needed the time to ease us into her world.

I had no idea how these three characters would interact, how their fate would intertwine. But when the action kicked in, I was all in!
Who was hunting Esther?
Was it the same persons who kidnapped and threatened Nicholas?
Who was friend and who was foe?
Were these characters on the same side?
Why did Joanna and Esther’s father died?

Round and round I was wondering how the action would unfurl and if I would get a HEA or a bittersweet ending.

That book is a novelty, has a unique magic system, flawed and torn characters, a mystery and a killer on the loose. And past the initial confusion, I had an excellent time reading it. 

Thanks for reading.


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  1. The beginning doesn’t sound like the best beginning ever, and probably I would have abandoned it because it sounds like a tad too much! But I am glad that things get better and that you had such a good time with it! And the magic sounds like something original and unique!!