“A fascinating world, absolutely delightful characters, and enemies-to-loves romance—this book is one readers will devour before begging for more.” —Tricia Levenseller, New York Times bestselling author of Blade of Secrets
Gideon the Ninth meets the Game of Thrones White Walkers in this dark, “swiftly paced” (Publishers Weekly) young adult fantasy about a disgraced ghost-fighting warrior who must journey into a haunted wasteland to rescue a kidnapped prince.
Ready your blade. Defeat the undead.
In the Dominions, the dead linger, violent and unpredictable, unless a bonesmith severs the ghost from its earthly remains. For bonesmith Wren, becoming a valkyr—a ghost-fighting warrior—is a chance to solidify her place in the noble House of Bone and impress her frequently absent father. But when sabotage causes Wren to fail her qualifying trial, she is banished to the Border Wall, the last line of defense against a wasteland called the Breach where the vicious dead roam unchecked.
Determined to reclaim her family’s respect, Wren gets her chance when a House of Gold prince is kidnapped and taken beyond the Wall. To prove she has what it takes to be a valkyr, Wren vows to cross the Breach and rescue the prince. But to do so, she’s forced into an uneasy alliance with one of the kidnappers—a fierce ironsmith called Julian from the exiled House of Iron, the very people who caused the Breach in the first place…and the House of Bone’s sworn enemy.
As they travel, Wren and Julian spend as much time fighting each other as they do the undead, but when they discover there’s more behind the kidnapping than either of them knew, they’ll need to work together to combat the real danger: a dark alliance that is brewing between the living and the undead.
About the Author
Nicki Pau Preto is a fantasy author living just outside Toronto—though her dislike of hockey, snow, and geese makes her the worst Canadian in the country. She studied art and art history in university and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a full-time writer. She is the author of the Crown of Feathers trilogy and the House of the Dead Duology, and you can find her online at NickiPauPreto.com.
In this novel pitched as Gideon the Ninth meets Game of Thrones, Wren Graven is determined to become a valkyr who can make her father proud. The only grandchild of the Lady-Smith of the House of Bone and a bastard who ruined her father’s chance to marry into the royal family, Wren is an excellent valky—but not good at the political machinations that come with House politics. When the plots of a rival student render her exiled to the Breachfort, a wall of stone and bone erected during the last war to keep out the undead, she can only hope for a chance to prove herself worthy of returning. When a visiting prince is kidnapped, Wren teams up with Julian from the denounced House of Iron to save him. Preto’s story is heavy on exposition to establish the worldbuilding, but Wren’s impetuous personality carries readers through the opening chapters to the Breachfort and beyond, where mysteries about Wren’s family and birth begin to reveal themselves on an action-packed mission. Game of Thrones fans will see a number of plot points line up between Wren’s House of Bone and the Stark family. The romantic tension between Wren and Julian raises the stakes of the adventure, as does Wren’s growing friendship with the prince. Preto’s character arcs are as carefully plotted as her adventures, exploring privilege, filial piety, and generational trauma. The characters and worldbuilding are diverse. VERDICT An expository opening turns into an action-oriented undead adventure. Recommended for secondary purchase.–Emmy Neal — School Library Journal
Teens grapple with familial expectations in this rollicking duology opener from Pau Preto (the Crown of Feathers trilogy). Wren Graven—a bonesmith able to psychically sense and move bone—yearns to become a ghost-battling Valkyr like her father. After failing her trial, however, the House of Bone’s leader—Wren’s imperious grandmother—exiles Wren to the Border Wall, a defensive stronghold against both the Breach, a revenant-infested wasteland, and the soldiers of the exiled House of Iron, whose mining created the Breach that birthed said monsters. When House of Gold prince Leo Valorian visits the Wall, Wren accompanies him on his inspection, hoping to impress. But soon after his arrival, House of Iron soldiers attack, capturing Leo and abandoning ironsmith Julian Knight, who falls into a chasm with Wren. The soldiers flee into the Breach, prompting the left-for-dead pair to cooperate and give chase—Wren to save Leo and her reputation and Julian to unravel the apparent conspiracy against him. Pau Preto’s kaleidoscopic close-third-person narrative complements the swiftly paced, bombshell-strewn plot, which crescendos to an explosive finish. Wren’s friendship with fun-loving Leo adds levity, while her romantic sparks with broody Julian inject tension. The cast is ethnically diverse. Ages 14–up. Agent: Penny Moore, Aevitas Creative Management. (July) — Publishers Weekly
"Filled with magic, betrayal, and undead horrors, Bonesmith will keep you turning pages as fast as you can--and sharpen your hunger for the next book. Wren's journey through the dead-infested Breachlands is a thrilling adventure, one you don't want to miss." — Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling coauthor of MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE, author of NIGHTRENDER and THE ORPHAN QUEEN
"I’ve been dying for a YA novel with unique magic, and Bonesmith delivered it on a ghostly-green platter. With a fascinating world, absolutely delightful characters, and enemies-to-lovers romance, this book is one readers will devour before begging for more." — Tricia Levenseller, New York Times–bestselling author of Blade of Secrets
"Gripping and action-packed in its plot, tender yet fierce in its romance, haunting and gritty in its worldbuilding, Bonesmith is a dark fantasy thrill ride from start to finish. Wren Graven is the perfectly stubborn, witty, and courageous heroine to navigate a world of ghosts and undead that will remain with readers long after the last page." — Amélie Wen Zhao, author of Song of Silver, Flame like Night and the Blood Heir trilogy
"[An] eerie, atmospheric read packed with action and betrayal." — Rebecca Schaeffer, author of the critically acclaimed Market of Monsters series