A dark and riveting middle grade fantasy by the critically acclaimed Kali Wallace about an archipelago of magical islands and one girl’s discovery on the ocean floor that thrusts her into a dangerous mystery.
In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands, twelve-year-old Mara has always been fascinated by the magic that drifts on the air as songs. But when her guardian, a bone-mage named Bindy, is killed by a rival, Mara loses both her home and her best chance to follow her dream of learning magic. Now Mara is a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides, earning her keep by diving in the murky ocean and searching for magical treasures.
Then one day, while diving for the Lady, Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures: a lizard with wings, a horse with horns, and many more, the likes of which have not existed in the city for centuries — all humming with a powerful spell-song. Mara is convinced the bones will earn her the opportunity to study magic. But rather than rewarding her discovery, the Lady gives Mara a challenge: to learn where the magical bones came from by sneaking into the Winter Blade, an island fortress ruled by the very same sorcerer who killed Bindy years ago.
What Mara finds will reveal chilling truths about her own past, as well as secrets about the history of her beloved city that are more dangerous — and magical — than she had ever imagined.
Kali Wallace is the author of Shallow Graves. For most of her life, she was going to be a scientist when she grew up. She studied geology in college, partly because she could get course credit for hiking and camping, and eventually earned a PhD in geophysics researching earthquakes in India and the Himalayas. Now she loves inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked exploring the real one. She’s from Colorado but now lives in Southern California.