Publisher: Candlewick Press
Number of pages: 384
Publishing: April 13th, 2021
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss +
Opening Lines: "Pipistrell was deep in the Choke Alleys. It was black night, blacker than the inside of a cash box, so black you couldn't see your hand in front of your eyes."
Twelve-year-old Pipistrel "Pip" and his older sister, El live in the city of Clarel, getting by with whatever Pip can pilfer from unsuspecting travelers in Choke Alley. On one of Pip's most recent nighttime raids, he pickpockets a small silver box with a distinctive coat of arms on the cover, something so elaborate it must belong to one of the nobles, and hopefully will fetch him a good price. Upon opening the box, Pip and El are surprised to discover a rough black stone that resembles a shriveled up heart. Sure that the thing is cursed, El insists that Pip get rid of it at once, but Pip is unable to part with the black heart inside, so he instead sells the box to an antiquities dealer. Some time later, Pip and El learn that the owner of the shop was killed by an assassin, and the man is currently searching Choke Alley for them. Unable to return to their apartment, El asks for help from her best friend, Oni who takes them to her mother, Amina's house.
At the same time, Princess Georgette is set to meet her latest suitor, King Oswald, the man her father is intent on having her marry. Their marriage is thought to bring peace to the city of Clarel, and it also bodes well that her suitor posses great power. However, as soon as Princess Georgette looks into the eyes of her betrothed, she becomes terrified by what she sees, King Oswald's eyes are empty, devoid of all feeling. Convinced that she must escape her impending marriage, she runs away to her former Nurse maid, Amina. Meanwhile, the royal who's box Pip stole is canvassing the city to reclaim it's contents.
The plot of The Threads of Magic involves a powerful magical artifact, an ancient war between Specter's and the witches of Clarel, and the royals who want to claim the artifact to further their power. A long time ago, one of the witches created the artifact by taking the heart of a little boy, her intent was to use it to stop the Specter's. However the artifact came with its own difficulties and was thought to be too unstable, it was meant to be imprisoned in the box as its casket. Then Pip took possession of the heart and accidentally unleashed its powers. The heart began to communicate with Pip, telling him his story, how he once was a young Prince named Clovis. All the while, Clovis motives aren't clear to Pip, can Clovis be trusted or is he evil or dangerous? Clovis had a very youthful quality, behaving just as a young child might, he gets angry easy and is very uncertain even untrusting of others. What Clovis is eager for is a friend, which is understandable given how long he was confined in that box. At times, Pip doesn't want to be bothered by Clovis, but eventually through the help of Georgette, Oni and El, he starts to realize that it's important to teach Clovis what being a true friend entails. I quite enjoyed my read of The Threads of Magic. The story shifts between the perspectives of various characters building on their relationships to Clovis and what the Specter's hope to accomplish with him. There's a good bit of magic, especially when it comes to the witches, which was fun and I was vested in wanting to find out how things would resolve for Clovis. Plus it sort of had a Dicken's vibe going for it which I enjoyed.