Alternative Arthurian legends twist through this first in a young adult fantasy series, but what hooked me was the fearless, hardened, fiercely loyal, savvy, and crafty main protagonist Tamsin as she struggled to find her place in both worlds of the story.
In Alexandra Bracken's young adult novel Silver in the Bone, sorceresses and dark magical beings populate the underground beneath Boston. Tamsin Lark is separate from them all, as she was born without magic. She knows how to find things, she's crafty, she's ruthless, and she'll do anything for her brother Cabell.
But when her last remaining parent figure disappears without a trace, Tamsin is forced to go to great lengths and seek enchanted relics--of dubious provenance and with potentially disastrous power--in order to keep herself and Cabell alive.
They must make a dangerous journey, then while determining whether those they meet are friend or foe, they must discern whether a legendary ring from Arthurian times could save Cabell from a curse threatening his life.
Along the way, they face deathly threats, mysterious magic, a tangled web of lore and superstition, and those who seem to be allies but may be hiding dark secrets.
I was reading Silver in the Bone, with its Arthurian references, during the same period I was reading another (very different) young adult book with references to Arthur and his court, Legendborn. Bracken's story offered sassy banter that I loved, a great enemies-to-(not-quite)-lovers setup, a strong young female protagonist with a heart of gold, female power all over the place, captivatingly creepy elements, and fidelity that in some cases are shown to be betrayals that take your breath away.
Tamsin struggles to be vulnerable and to build new loyalties, and I was hooked by her often awkward interpersonal exchanges, her imperfections, and her complex inner self.
The book ends on a cliffhanger, setting up book two, which will hopefully be published in 2024 and which I can't wait to read.
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Alexandra Bracken is also the author of Lore.
I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Knopf Books for Young Readers.