As she and her family settle in, Violet engages in spontaneous mutual pining with Will (the man who took her captive), learns surprising truths about the world from him (because her parents kept her and her siblings in deliberate ignorance), and is quickly inducted into a secret order sworn to overthrow the royal family. Violet is feisty, a touch melodramatic, eager to protect but resistant to Will’s efforts to protect her—in short, she’s fierce, conflicted, and very believably seventeen. This salty world of nightmares, conspiracies, and literal prince of Eerie is fun to discover, especially some spooky beasts and weird magic, though the romantic elements feel familiar. With Violet’s feelings for the men around her often the narrative’s emphasis.
Still, Gray spins Violet’s tale with polished prose, brisk storytelling, and a welcome sense of what a fantastical life actually feels like, from the calloused hands of a pirate to Violet’s father’s surprising proficiency cooking scalloped potatoes to the unique traits of monsters: “Sylks smell like smoke. Shifters hate perfume.” Blending the freshly inventive with genre traditions, Nightweaver and its promised sequel will appeal to YA fantasy fans who adore conflicted love triangles and strong young women on a mission.
Takeaway: Fresh piratical tale of murder, magic, family, and a fierce heroine.
Comparable Titles: Logan Karlie’s Dream by the Shadows, Kate Golden’s A Dawn of Onyx.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A