In this fantasy debut, a woman with powerful magical abilities discovers that her fate is entwined with those of heroes from another world.
Twenty-three-year-old Addy Piper lives in a room underneath the house of a gruff man named Rodic in the village of Darton. One night, he receives a phone call from Addy's mother, Verity, who left her there 13 years ago. The abusive woman now wants her daughter back so that she might exploit Addy's vast but untapped talent for witchcraft. The young woman tries to flee, but her mother and a sinister man named Zyklon quickly find her. They hide Addy in a cave, where she wakes tied to a giant, spinning wheel. The power-hungry Verity explains that Addy may belong to a mysterious group known as the Quinary and that she can perform a specific chant to pass her powers to another upon her death. Soon, however, a shape-shifter named Aquilae helps Addy escape. She clambers through the wilderness until she reaches the farmhouse of Rachel and Dane, who offer to help her hone her witchcraft. Later, when Rachel betrays Addy to Verity and Zyklon, Dane reveals that he's an agent of the aforementioned Quinary, a council on the planet Thear that guards four elements, including time itself, from attackers. Is it possible that Addy governs a fifth element? In this debut, author Simmonds offers a narrative that sprints through a mix of supernatural fantasy and myth. Her main strength is her worldbuilding, evidenced, in part, by her inclusion of such creatures as Brownies, dragons, and demons like Ehruh—who granted Verity unnatural youth. At its heart, Simmonds examines "the most important decision" that anyone can make: "whether the world is your friend or not." Throughout, Addy is shown to be torn about using her powers; however, magic, when it does appear, is evoked cleverly: "It swirled around her, a soft peppermint mist." There's also a distinct environmentalist theme; at one point, Lord Glock notes, "The biomass on earth is being depleted faster than it can restore itself."
A fearless, briskly paced tale that explores how the potential for positive change lies within everyone.