"Part wish-fulfillment fantasy...part gritty whodunit,"* Splinters of Scarlet is a spellbinding and atmospheric historical fantasy set in nineteenth-century Denmark, where secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift, for fans of The Gilded Wolves and Pride and Premeditation. (*Kirkus)
"Emily Bain Murphy weaves an exquisite tale of mystery, enchantment and valor. I loved this spellbinding book " --Rebecca Ross, author of The Queen's Rising
For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy: it flows freely through her blood, but every use leaves behind a deadly, ice-like build-up within her veins called the Firn. Marit knows how dangerous it is to let too much Firn build up--after all, it killed her sister--and she has vowed never to use her thread magic. But when Eve, a fellow orphan whom Marit views like a little sister, is adopted by the wealthy Helene Vestergaard, Marit will do anything to stay by Eve's side. She decides to risk the Firn and uses magic to secure a job as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household.
But Marit has a second, hidden agenda: her father died while working in the Vestergaards' jewel mines--and it might not have been an accident. The closer Marit gets to the truth about the Vestergaard family, the more she realizes she and everyone she's come to love are in danger. When she finds herself in the middle of a treacherous deception that goes all the way up to the king of Denmark, magic may be the only thing that can save her--if it doesn't kill her first.
- ISBN-13: 9780358142737
- ISBN-10: 0358142733
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publish Date: July 2020
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
- Page Count: 400
- Reading Level: Ages 13-17
Splinters of Scarlet
Marit Olsen is alone in the world. Her father died in an accident in the wealthy Vestergaard family’s mines. The Firn, an icy buildup in the veins that freezes a body from the inside as a result of the overuse of magic, claimed her sister not long after. Like her sister, Marit has magic; Marit’s gives her a connection to fabric, thread and sewing. She can embroider a dress in one night that would take an expert seamstress weeks. But like all magic users, Marit uses her gift sparingly for fear of the Firn.
On the cusp of aging out of the orphanage, Marit is determined to look out for Eve, a younger girl with a gift for ballet who has become like a little sister to her. When Eve is adopted by Helene Vestergaard, Marit manages to obtain a place as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household. As she settles in among the staff, she realizes they all have magical abilities that they use often. While Eve adjusts to a life of wealth and privilege, Marit uncovers new information about her father’s accident with the help of her new friends, siblings Liljan and Jakob. If her father’s death wasn’t an accident, could the Vestergaards have been involved? Is Eve in danger? Marit will risk it all, including the Firn, to ensure that her chosen family is safe.
Emily Bain Murphy’s second novel is an assured blend of historical fiction and fantasy, with satisfyingly researched details appearing alongside a simple but powerful system of magic. The story includes a slow-burning romance, but Marit’s prickly enemies-to-friends relationship with another household servant is even more compelling. Most satisfying is the book’s villain, an occasional narrator whose identity is revealed in time. Murphy has created a more nuanced villain than is usually attempted in YA fantasy, with valid (yet misguided) goals and easily understandable, even sympathetic motivations.
Marit’s struggle to find and protect her found family, the lush and hygge-filled Scandinavian surroundings and the thrilling showdown with a complex villain make Splinters of Scarlet a finely woven tale perfect for historical fiction and fantasy readers alike.