In an alternate 1850s, a boy with no magic struggles to survive in a world dominated by it.
Virtually everyone in Kulper’s world has some form of magic or is at least affected by magic. Those with Talents earn appreciation, while Others, people with true magical gifts, can become prized members of their communities. Mal, however, is a “blank,” a rare, feared person who not only has no magic, but one upon whom magic has no effect whatever. Born on Prince Island, his best friend is Essie, who will one day become the famed Roe witch and help to control the weather for the whaling and merchant ships. However, Essie betrays Mal’s secret to the islanders, forcing him to flee. He teams up with Boone, a shady dealer in magical items. When Boone learns of the shar, a long-lost knife with the power to cut magic out of people, the two begin a desperate quest to acquire it and the riches it represents. Now 18, Mal wants revenge on Essie and intends to use the shar on her. Kulper creates a vivid, richly detailed alternative world grounded in history but with the added magical twist. Instead of witches, blanks are feared and persecuted. Characterizations, particularly the angry, afflicted Mal, pop as vividly as the alternative setting, offering readers an absorbing experience.
Unusual and highly engaging. (Paranormal adventure. 12-18)