Written by Alison Croggon, Published by Walker Books

Clarel is a town where magic is forbidden. Witches have been erased from the town and all magic is deemed dark and unnecessary. Pip and his sister El, live day to day, with little to eat and basic beds. Pip steals to keep them alive.

Pickpocketing a man one night, Pip hopes for gold or money to buy the next meal. What he finds is a trinket box and the contents within spook both Pip and El. Not realising the danger they are in, Pip sells the box but keeps the contents hidden.

A dangerous and deadly chain of reactions is set in motion and Pip is now being chased by assassins set by the Cardinal of the City. The dried out heart, found within the box, is actually an ancient spell. The owner of the heart is a young Prince from Clarel’s history, killed for a spectre to take over his body. The prince wants revenge and Pip is his vessel.

Pip, El, friend Oni and her mother Amina, are in terrible danger and must work together to overcome the evil now haunting the city. Commoners revolt against the monarchy, creepy and dangerous spectres have plans to take over the bodies of those around them and there is a hidden coven of witches active underground.

Full of an intensifying race against time to save Pip, El and the city of Clarel from the evil Cardinal, this book will keep you on your toes. I love the character of Pip, although forced to steal to survive, has a kind heart and only wishes to protect his sister from the dangers of the world. Oni and her mother Amina are witches with tremendous secrets and abilities which work to save Pip and El several times.

A brilliant book, one of my top picks for 2020!

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