That Self-Same Metal

Abrams/Amulet. (The Forge & Fracture Saga: Bk. 1). Apr. 2023. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419758645.
Gr 8 Up–In her debut, Williams weaves an intricate, historically rich tapestry set in an alternate Shakespearean London, where magic exists alongside the Fae and aspects of the belief in Orisha spirits, a tradition that began in West Africa. Joan Sands, 16, has a magical ability to control metal gifted to her by Ogun, her primary Orisha, that serves her well in her position as the craftsperson in charge of stage blades for William Shakespeare’s acting company, The King’s Men. All of Joan’s family have received blessings from the Orisha and additionally can see the glow that surrounds the Fae that walk among them, which ordinary citizens do not see. The pact that prevents the more powerful Fae from entering the human world is not renewed due to a misunderstanding at the beginning of the novel, and brutal Fae attacks that make no sense to the average London dweller are steadily increasing. After a theater performance, Joan is on her way home when she observes an attack in progress. The teen decides to intervene and ends up preventing a Fae prince from killing the child of a powerful human politician. She is then drawn into the wider struggle to prevent the Fae from overtaking the world. The relationships are well drawn and convincingly portray familial and romantic entanglements, with the main character as well as numerous secondary characters presenting as Black and LGBTQIA+.
VERDICT Fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas will love this start of a new series.

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