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Cinders and Sparrows (Hardcover)
Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“Witches, ghosts, and beastly creatures, oh my! A spine-tingling adventure ensues when a 12-year-old orphan housemaid is found to be the lost heir of a family dynasty of witches. Add in the creepy Blackbird Castle, a pinch of evil villains, and a dash of spells, mix well, and enjoy a suspenseful mystery of good vs. evil.”
— Katrina Padilla-Sornoso, San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe, San Marino, CA
A suspenseful tale of witches, family, and magic from internationally bestselling author Stefan Bachmann. When a twelve-year-old orphan unexpectedly becomes the mistress of a seemingly abandoned castle, she is thrust into a mysterious plot involving murderous spells, false identity, and a magical battle of wills between the living and the dead. Readers of Kate Milford's Greenglass House, Victoria Schwab's City of Ghosts, and Diana Wynne Jones will be riveted.
Twelve-year-old Zita, an orphan and a housemaid, has resigned herself to a life of drudgery when a strange letter arrives, naming her the only living heir to the Brydgeborn fortune. Now the mistress of the castle, Zita soon realizes foul play led to the death of her family. And as she is guided through lessons in the art of witchcraft by the somewhat mysterious Mrs. Cantanker, Zita begins to wonder who is friend and who is foe.
Unforgettable and utterly enchanting, this stand-alone tale about family, belonging, and friendship will bewitch readers of Tahereh Mafi’s Whichwood, Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces, and Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Cinders & Sparrows is a magical page-turner by the author of The Peculiar, the acclaimed international bestseller.
About the Author
Stefan Bachmann is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Peculiar and its acclaimed sequel, The Whatnot. He was born in Colorado, spent most of his childhood in Switzerland, and is now studying modern music at the Zürich University of the Arts. When he’s not writing, he can be found traveling to someplace chilly, or holed up beneath his college in the dimly lit labyrinth of practice rooms, which may have inspired the subterranean scenes in A Drop of Night. That . . . and the Paris catacombs, a weird dream about a golden corridor, and a general interest in history.
“Stefan Bachmann is a terrific, ambitious writer . . . Magic and mystery tied up with real stakes—readers won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough.”
— Soman Chainani, New York Times-bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil series
“Although a 12-year-old servant girl doesn’t recall the time before she was an orphan, she remembers her secret, powerful name: Zita Brydgeborn.. . . The last of a family of powerful witches . . . there is much to learn and no one she can fully rely upon . . . Bachmann’s worldbuilding is delightful . . . rich with enough ghosts and enchanted staircases to satisfy any fantasy lover, and the cast of characters . . . is well developed and engaging, especially intrepid narrator Zita. A suspenseful and entertaining romp through an entertainingly witchy world.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In a house so full of secrets . . . nothing is what it seems. Through enticing details, Bachmann creates a singular, gothic world in which a long-declining class of psychopompic witches defend against the restless dead. . . . Dreadful creatures, an absorbing atmosphere of escalating tension and paranoia, and moments of delightful magic all make for a memorable adventure.”
— Publishers Weekly
“An orphan has no idea of her birthright until a mysterious stranger shows up to inform her of her destiny. Suddenly, Zita is heiress to a castle, learning to develop her innate skills as a witch and exposed to a whole world beyond the orphanage where she was raised. . . . Bachmann balances horror, magic, and a coming of age story with aplomb.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books