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By Kendall Kulper
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy
Grades: 7 & up
In Mal’s world, magic is everything. But Mal is a “blank,” the anti-magic. Blanks can’t be hexed or cursed or saved or killed by magic. And everyone is afraid of them–even Mal himself.
So Mal hides what he is–except from Essie Roe, a witch and his best friend. On the day Essie reveals his secret and casts him out from the only home he’s ever known, Mal experiences the true shock of betrayal.
Now Mal travels the world in search of rare, illegal magical relics. When his partner in crime, Boone, hears rumors of a legendary dagger that can steal a witch’s power, Mal knows he’s finally found his means of revenge. But as the chase for the fabled knife takes them from Boston to Paris to Constantinople, Mal realizes there are secrets afoot that he’s only beginning to understand–and all the while the blank monster inside him threatens to escape.
“Narrated by Mal, this prequel to Kulper’s popular Salt and Storm sustains the high quality and tenor of the earlier book. Mal and Essie are evocative of Emily Brontë’s Catherine and Heathcliff, although their circumstances are very different, and the treasure hunting and mid-nineteenth- century travel will give this book wide appeal.” — Booklist
“Kulper creates a vivid, richly detailed alternative world grounded in history but with the added magical twist… Characterizations, particularly the angry, afflicted Mal, pop as vividly as the alternative setting, offering readers an absorbing experience. Unusual and highly engaging.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Fans of alternate histories will enjoy the author’s skillful world-building and fantastic dialogue.” — School Library Journal