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I am Josephine Darly, and I intend to live forever.
It is impossible to know who you really are until you spend time alone in a cemetery.
The headstone was cold against my back, pressing my thin T-shirt into the sweat trickling down my skin. Dusk washed the cemetery of shadows, lending it a quality of between-ness: neither day nor night, but a gray, teary moment. I sat with my legs crossed and the book in my lap. Beneath me, scraggly grass hid my parents’ graves.
I brushed dirt off the front cover of the book. It was the size of a paperback novel, so small and insignificant-seeming between my hands. The mahogany leather cover was soft and scuffed from years of use; the color had worn off the corners. The pages used to be gilded, but that was rubbed off, too. Cracking it open, I read the inscription again, whispering it to myself, making it more real.
Notes on Transformation and Transcendence Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.—Shakespeare
It had been one of Dad’s favorite quotes. From Hamlet. Dad used to recite it whenever Reese or I stormed out of the room to pout. Said we had nothing to complain about compared to the prince of Denmark. I remembered his blue eyes narrowing at me over the rims of his glasses.
The book had arrived in the mail this afternoon, wrapped in brown paper with no return address. Drusilla Kennicot was written in plain block letters, like a summoning. There were six stamps in the corner. It smelled like blood.
That particular raw-penny aroma stuck in the back of my throat, clinging with memory. I closed my eyes and saw a splash of blood streaked across bookshelves.
When I opened my eyes again, I was still alone in the cemetery.
Inside the front cover of the book was a note, folded in thirds and written on thick, unlined paper.
Silla, it began. I shivered every time I saw my name written in the old cursive hand. The bottom of the s spiraled into oblivion.
I feel your loss as my own, child. I have known your father for most of his life, and he was a dearest friend. I regret I am unable to present myself for his memorial, though trust that his life is celebrated and his death greatly mourned.
If there can be any small consolation, I hope that this is it. Here in this book are the secrets he perfected. Decades of research, a lifetime’s worth of knowledge. He was a gloriously talented magician and healer, and he was proud of you, proud of your strength. I know he would like for you to have this record of his work now.
All my brightest hopes be with you and your brother.
It was signed only The Deacon. No last name or contact information.
Crows laughed, bursting up through headstones a distance away. The black cloud of them cut through the air in a flapping of wings and raucous cawing. I watched them against the gray sky as they flew west toward my house. Probably to terrorize the blue jays that lived in our front-yard maple.
Wind blew my short hair against my cheeks, and I brushed it back. I wondered who this Deacon was. He claimed friendship with my dad, but I’d never heard of him. And why he would suggest such incredible, ridiculous things: that my dad was a magician and healer, when he’d only been a high school Latin teacher. But despite that, I knew without a doubt that I was holding a book my dad had written: I recognized his ?ne, delicate handwriting, with its tiny loops in every capital L and its perfectly angled Rs. He’d abhorred typing, and used to lecture Reese and me about learning to write longhand legibly. Reese had compromised by printing block letters, but I’d been too enamored of wild, looping cursive to worry about readability.
No matter where it had come from, this book was Dad’s.
As I flipped through it, I saw that every page contained lines and lines of perfect writing and meticulous diagrams sprawling like spider webs. The diagrams contained circles within circles, Greek letters or strange pictographs and runes. There were triangles and octagons, pentacles, squares, and seven-pointed stars. Dad had made tiny notes at the edges of the pages, written descriptive paragraphs in Latin, and made lists of ingredients.
Salt dominated the lists, and recognizable items like ginger, wax, fingernails, mirrors, chicken claws, cat teeth, and colored ribbons. But there were words I didn’t know, like carmot and agrimony and spikenard.
And blood. Every list included a drop of blood.
They were magic spells. For locating lost items, for blessing new babies and deterring curses. For protecting against evil. For seeing over long distances. Predicting the future. For healing all manner of illness and wound.
I flipped through, heart alight with wonder and fear. I could taste excitement, too, like electricity in the back of my throat. Could it be real? Dad hadn’t been one to play elaborate tricks, and was the opposite of fanciful, despite his love for old books and heroic tales.
There had to be a spell I could try. To test it. To see.
As I thought about it, the smell crawled up the back of my throat again, blood clinging to my sinuses and trailing like sticky smoke down my esophagus.
I raised the book to my nose and drew in a long, cleansing breath. And I imagined I could smell him in the book. My dad. Not the overwhelming blood that had saturated his shirt and the carpet beneath his body, but the slightly oiled cigarettes-and-soap when he came to breakfast every morning, after a shower and quick smoke on the back patio. I dropped the book into my lap and closed my eyes until Dad was right there, sitting in front of me, one hand touching my right knee.
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted June 18, 2011
When Silla Kennicott receives a mysterious book and a note signed by "The Deacon", she is surprised to find the book contains a bunch of magic spells all written in her late father's handwriting. She immediately goes to the cemetery to try out the spell book. She can't help it. This book came from her father, and since her parents both died in an apparent murder/suicide, she needs answers.
When her blood drips onto a dead leaf which slowly springs to life, it's then Silla realizes this book holds some truly amazing secrets. With this revelation comes more questions: who was her dad and what else had he been hiding? The other problem? Nicholas, the boy who just moved in next door, saw her in the cemetery. What all did he see, and more importantly, who will he tell?
Soon, Silla discovers that Nicholas has a few secrets of his own, and with the help of Silla's brother, the three of them attempt to uncover the secrets behind the blood magic inside the book. But there's something else out there that wants the book for its own evil purposes, and it needs Silla's blood to achieve its goal. Before they know it, the three of them are facing off against a decades old evil that is more powerful than anything they could ever imagine.
I REALLY liked this book. Tessa Gratton's writing flows freely, and the story is very engaging and original. The novel is written in first-person POV, alternating between Nicholas and Silla, with journal entries thrown in to give the reader plenty of back story. I'd figured out who the antagonist was way before the reveal, but that didn't ruin the experience for me. My only gripe is that Silla and Nick's instant attraction and resulting relationship felt a little rushed. This wasn't enough to ruin the book for me, though. The story is engaging, well-written and full of surprises. I highly recommend this one.
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2011
This book was even better than I had hoped. The twists and turns of the story and the richly broken characters are amazing. The lore behind it is unique and vast..well thought out and planned. This series of books will be most interesting to see the direction it takes next.
I will never look at crows the same way again...
A must read for anyone who is a fan of kissing, magic...writing styles that are a lot like Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff...Ahh the merry fates :)
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2011
I Also Recommend:
Every once in a great while you come across a book that you don't want to end. It may be the depth and quality of the writing; it may be the uniqueness of the plot, or even the way the characters seem to come to life off the page and make you genuinely care for them. Tessa Gratton has accomplished all three with this truly extraordinary story. Silla and Reese Kennicot have recently suffered the tragic loss of both their beloved parents, made more tragic by everyone's belief that her father killed her mother and then himself. Silla had found the bodies, been covered in their blood, and still can't get the memory out of her head. But more tormenting is the conviction that the murder/suicide did not go down as everyone believes. She knew her father's gentleness, his devotion to both his children and his wife; she cannot believe, WILL NOT believe that he was guilty of this atrocity. So when she receives a book from a mysterious friend of her fathers, a book of spells that seems to indicate her father's long interest and practice of some sort of magic, she sees a way of proving her belief to her brother...and everyone else. Enter Nicholas Pardee, a new boy from Chicago who will not only be entering school with her, but who also lives next door and meets her for the first time in the cemetery between their family properties. That she had just succeeded in performing her first instance of blood magic should have frightened him away, but Nicholas knows about magic. It's in his family's blood just as it is in Silla'a, and this dark and curious power will ignite an attraction between them that neither can put out. When it seems that someone else is hunting the book and its powerful spells - and is willing to go through anyone to obtain it - Silla, her brother Reese, and Nicholas will have to unite to protect those they love and solve the mystery of the magic and the deaths of the Kennicots before magic and madness cause more deaths. Darkly intense and full of blood magic that may disturb the more sensitive readers, this book has a truly beautiful romance that I hope continues, and a brother/sister relationship that is enviable and heartbreaking. I rarely give a book 5 stars, but this one deserves that highest of praise.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 13, 2011
This book was not what I expected at all I feel like the other was an amateur she rushed along the story line, a lot of parts left the reader confused and this story was just awful. I feel as though she had the right idea for a story line but it was just way to rushed. The main character fell in love in what an hour..... I would not recommend this book to anyone I think the author needs to start fresh and not even finish on with the series.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 9, 2011
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Posted December 4, 2012
Im Sophia Miller (made up character) and im in the ravenclaw house. She pushed her glasses up on her nose and her owl squaked as she moved.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2012
This book is quick passed and a great story. The auther actually makes the charactors seem real because in the real world when a girl is ontop of a guy and they're kissing and such the guy isnt NOT going to be thinking dirty, and thats what i really like about this book. It doesnt beat around the bush. :) 4.5 stars out of 5 :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2012
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Please read my two stories and my other reccamendd stories. Read the golden cat at golden girl result one. Read nightfall's job at qu result four. Ask questions about the golden cat at qu second result. Ill answer your question in qu result three. Please read theese stories too. There is the dauntless/defiant books at field of gold all results. Read twoleg of the clans at field of gold result one to five and maybe more might come out. Read mudshadows path at mud all results. Read coalreapers fate at coal all results. Read prolouge at planets first two results. Please read theese stories! The autherWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2012
Posted August 19, 2012
Yes u may join . Btw im Ronald Potter son of Mary and Albus Severus Potter . Grandson of Harry and Ginny Potter . Im hoping to make the Quidditch Team in my first year just like my dad and grandad . Im in Gryffindor . Wat house do you hope to be in . Well i better get going then . I hope to see you around soon good luck in the sortingWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 6, 2012
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