A baker's apprentice invokes the fire demon hidden in her hearth to find her parents after she destroys her village.
Hello! I love stories, so much that I chose a profession devoted to them. When I’m not sharing the delightful, the random, or the weird stories that make history wonderful with my high schoolers, I can be found on a pool deck. I keep trying to convince ten year olds that swimming the five hundred is fun and builds character, with limited success.
Tamora Pierce, Garth Nix, Kristen Cashore, Leigh Barudgo, Dianna Wynne Jones,
Things I love:
Sassy aunties and lewd grannies, female friendships that support, importance of family (blood and chosen), so-real-you-can-taste-it prose, humor, annoying brothers you love any way.
Tropes I am Trash For:
A solid party, “oh no there’s only one bed!”, Enemies to lovers, heated debates
“Protective,” romantic partners that are actually controlling/ obsessive.
Assault as a means of character growth.
Able to see faces in fires and hear voices in hedgerows, Anya Baxter has always been just short of mad. That’s a problem in her village, where being strange often ends with a sudden drop, a short stop, and a hangman’s necklace. When a stranger arrives before the Spring Festival, Anya’s madness, long suppressed, erupts. Unable to silence the voices or ignore the faces, Anya draws the attention of the stranger and and the dark creature he carries. Forced to flee an attack to save her neck, Anya is saddled with a demon familiar as her only means of protection, along with a terrifying truth: her madness, so long fostered and festered, is actually magic.
Seeking sanctuary in the city, Anya plans to ply her trade as a baker until she can find her parents. But Anya isn’t the only creature making for the city. As villages from the countryside collapse under a mysterious malady, Anya begins to suspect that the stranger isn’t far behind. She has to stay alive long enough to find her parents and answers. But what if the only way to survive is to use the madness – the power – that could get her killed?
AN OFFERING OF BLOOD AND SALT is a WIP, expected to be 80,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce’s strong female characters, Dianne Wynne Jones’ whimsical touch, and Naomi Novik’s love of hearth and home.
I witnessed my first burning when I was seven. There’s always one in a village: a person who is too. Too ugly or pretty, too rich or poor, too manly or girlish, too wise or stupid. It doesn’t really matter, what they are. It doesn’t even matter who they are. What matters is that they are different.
In Weir, it was Gregor. He was well liked, once. I’d even heard he was handsome, with his bright green eyes and copper skin. But then his wife died, and his daughter married a man from a village beyond the Greenshield. And then, Gregor was different, in maybe the worst sort of way: he was too alone.
He tended his crops like the rest of us. He always had a sweet for me, clutched in gnarled fingers with knuckles so thick they looked more like the knobs on his cane than hands. It got worse as he grew older. He stopped drinking with the men at night. Instead, he doddered around the village, squeaking at shadows and squawking nonsense, until one day he squeaked and squawked himself right onto a funeral pyre.
We always use wood in the Greenshield. There’s so much of it about, and no one wants the trouble of gathering rocks for a stoning or fishing out the body after a drowning.
What I remember most was the smell: horrible and oily, with the sound of screams over the pop and sizzle as the fat ran down and hit the embers. What I remembered second wasn’t the look – Mama wouldn’t let me look – but how my mother’s shaking hands were threaded through my hair so tight it hurt. I wouldn’t understand until later what my parents knew at Gregor’s burning: it wasn’t a matter of if our neighbors would turn on me, it was a matter of when.
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