A young girl confronts her own death in the river city of Zombay with its ancient magic and new gearwork in a stand-alone companion to National Book Award–winning Goblin Secrets (2012).
Young Kaile, the baker’s daughter, is separated from her shadow when she lets the bone flute given her by a goblin performer play its own tune. “You might…try to discover whose bone that once was,” the goblin tells her. But Kaile is forced to leave her home—she watches as her family holds a funeral for her and refuses to acknowledge her presence, convinced that the unshadowed are newly dead. Kaile, with Shade, her shadow, in tow, seeks the secret behind the bone flute. For some reason, it will only reliably play the well-known tune about a girl rumored to have drowned herself for love by leaping from the bridge into the River. And the impending River flood sounds a threatening note through everything in the city, creating the kind of urgency that has a sailing captain telling Kaile “we haven’t time for pissing and whistling.” When at last Kaile confronts the River’s power and the collective grief of the bones of the drowned, she saves herself along with the bridge that spans the River and connects the two halves of Zombay.
Alexander’s storytelling is compelling and clever, and this tale of courage is by turns humorous, poignant and convincing. (Fiction. 9-12)