Amulet Books, May 2015
Triss has woken up, not really knowing what happened before. She vaguely remembers who she is, where she’s from, or who her family is. Triss is also afraid. She sees the dolls she’s always loved since childhood, watching her as she moves around the room, calling to her. Is it her mind playing tricks on her or is it really happening? All she knows is she’s ravenously hungry…
When the Crescents arrive home after their fatal holiday, they also begin to notice changes in their beloved daughter. She’s eating everything set before her as well as everything in the pantry. She begins to snoop on her parents’ conversation instead of being the docile and obedient daughter she once was. The only thing that hasn’t changed is her little sister’s utter contempt and hatred for her.
Triss begins to notice changes in herself she desperately tries to hide. Leaves fall from her hair and dirt ends up in her bed and nightgown. She’s eaten some of the dolls in the room and has even gone outside to devour the rotten apples no longer clinging to the trees. These slow changes come to fruition when she realizes exactly who she is…and she’s not Triss.
Pen, her little sister, has been in contact with the Architect, a dark man who is handsomely disguised, driving a beautifully menacing black Daimler. He’s the one who had the power to bring Triss to life and trade her for the real Triss. He also isn’t finished with the havoc he wants to reap on Piers Crescent and him family for the binding agreement Piers made with him. Something dark and personal… Triss realizes she needs to help not only stop to the Architect and the Besiders from hurting the real Triss, but also from hurting her as well.
Set in the backdrop of England after World War I, the reader will get completely lost is the magical realism Hardinge writes. You’ll meet characters like Violet, a girl who loves jazz and rides a motorcycle but always is running from the winter she brings to Mr. Grace, a tailor who wields his scissors with talent along with the beautiful tea cakes he sets before his guests to the family dynamics of the Crescents, who don’t like change in a world on the tip of tremendous transformation. Hardinge takes everything from a magical period in history and blends it with the magic in the book portrayed from the sympathetic Triss to the ruthlessness of the Architect to the strange creatures called the Besiders who live within the bridges and buildings of the city. EXCELLENT read and highly recommended for JH/HS.