Jun 142024

Publishers Weekly: In this dazzling and eclectic fantasy from Hall (Star Eater), a scrappy, foul-mouthed medium wrangles with an impressively imagined cohort of skin thieves, smugglers, and shape-shifters—as well as her own inner demons. At 17, Karys Eska ran away from an abusive father and sold her soul to the god Sabaster to become a deathspeaker, one able to communicate with the deceased. When, years later, a job gone wildly wrong leaves her stranded in a sea cave, a stranger saves her life. Feraine Taliade turns out to be a diplomat from a neighboring country who survived an assassination attempt that left him badly wounded. Karys tries to use her powers to save him—and by fluke instead attaches him to her as her shadow. At first merely awkward, the situation quickly proves perilous; the assassins now pursue Karys as she sets out in search of a magic that can separate her from Feraine. Along the way, the pair become emotionally attached, but the odds that both of them will survive a powder-and-potion-induced separation are slim. Adding to the danger, Sabaster grows increasingly persistent in summoning Karys to his underworld, where he aims to make her his bride. Though extraordinarily complex, the plot never loses focus or pace. With elements of gut-turning horror, adventure, and romance, this is a powerhouse.