Yonie Watereye has made her name as a young “pearly,” one who can sense the presence of “guile” in an object—but Yonie isn’t really the one with the skill to perform the Seeing necessary to spot guile: it’s her life companion, her cat.
What is guile? And why does it do what it does? Guile is a powerful substance that has covered the water throughout the Bad Bayou. Guile changes the people and things that are exposed to it; the more guile, the more intense the change. A series of Seeings sends Yonie on a journey to find out more about her dead parents’ radically different backgrounds. Why have her father’s Low Town kinfolk rejected her? Why did her mother leave her High Town relatives? Were her parents’ deaths really an accident? And who is maliciously using guile-filled objects to endanger others’ lives—including, nearly fatally, Yonie’s? With the faithful, tart-tongued LaRue as a feline guide, Yonie discovers connections to family she thought she knew and ones she didn’t even know she had. Cooper’s setting is an intriguing blend of Louisiana delta and old England, with French surnames and faux cockney speech patterns. The plot is invigorating and exciting, though overly descriptive prose can drag. Unexpected twists leave readers both on edge and fulfilled, even if the outcomes are not all the ones they may have rooted for.
Readers will enjoy unboxing Yonie’s past right along with her. (Fantasy. 12 & up)