The fate of amnesiac magical exiles and their adopted xenophobic hometown depends on a girl, some chalk, and her singular power.
Rook makes doors, but she’s not a carpenter. She uses chalk and the magic that courses through her to open portals. She and a boatload of magical kids were shipped parentless from the world of Vora into the harbor of Regara minutes before an explosion closed the portal between worlds, erased the memories of the Voran children, and made Regarans instantly distrust magic. Voran orphans have been corralled and a wall built (sound familiar?) to dam up magic residue from the Great Catastrophe. In the aftermath, Rook has joined forces with Drift (who can “fly” by manipulating air) to make a home, sell black-market doors, and avoid authorities. Regara’s inability to endure the strain of leftover magic makes Rook desperate to get Drift and herself to Vora (not the mysterious forest that keeps appearing when she draws doors). This need accelerates when their income is compromised and the twosome adds another: a shape-shifting boy aptly named Fox. The exquisite worldbuilding will please steadfast fans of Johnson’s other Solace books. The Voran magic isn’t a gimmick, as it causes complications, unpredictability, and danger. Rook, Drift, and Fox are white, and there are some supporting olive and brown characters. Apropos themes of refugees and found families are addressed in a way that retains fantasy flavor while realistically presenting the brutality of ignorance and beauty of humanity.
Your new favorite fantasy. (maps) (Fantasy. 10-14)