Thanks to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy: it flows freely through her, but every use leaves behind a deadly, ice-like build-up within her veins called the Firn. Marit knows how dangerous it is to let too much Firn build up—after all, it killed her sister—and she has vowed never to use her thread magic. But when Eve, a fellow orphan, whom Marit views like a little sister, is adopted by the wealthy Helene Vestergaard, Marit will do anything to stay by Eve’s side. She decides to risk the Firn and use magic to secure a job as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household.
But Marit has a second, hidden agenda: her father died while working in the Vestergaard’s jewel mines—and it might not have been an accident. The closer Marit gets to the truth about the Vestergaard family, the more she realizes she and everyone she’s come to love are in danger. When she finds herself in the middle of a treacherous deception that goes all the way up to the king of Denmark, magic may be the only thing that can save her—if it doesn’t kill her first.
Splinters of Scarlet is set in 19th century Denmark where magic comes with a deadly cost to those who possess the gift. While abilities vary widely, the result of overuse is the same—The Firn, a fatal ice-like phenomena that builds up in their veins. Marit’s older sister dies from the condition protecting her, so she’s very much aware of the danger she puts herself whenever she uses her thread magic. She’s a strong female character who makes mistakes, but learns from them. She doesn’t hesitate to put her life on the line in the pursuit of justice and protecting those she loves. Her love interest, Jakob is equally likable and I enjoyed the way their relationship blossoms from wariness, to friendship, to love. The other characters, of which there are several, are vividly brought to life, an impressive feat given that the book is only 352 pages. In addition to the imaginative form of fantasy, Murphy spendidly brings to life, Denmark as it was in the second half of the 1800s. In this war-weary country, both the lower and the upper classes are given equal treatment. Against the historical background is the intriguing mystery of what really caused the explosion in the Vestergaard mines which took the lives of many miners including Marit’s father. The original mystery takes several surprising twists, before the ultimately shocking reveal.
Splinters of Scarlet is the second book in a row where I can honestly say my only disappointment is that I came to the end. Compounding that disappointment is that from the conclusion I’m pretty sure this is going to be a standalone, unless the author changes her mind. I finished this a couple of days ago but I find my thoughts frequently returning to Murphy’s magical world and the wonderful cast of characters she created. It’s being publicized as a mashup of Downton Abbey and Frozen and it definitely gave me those vibes. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone looking for a unique historical fantasy filled with magic, romance, glittering jewels, ballet, cameos by Hans Christian Anderson, mouth-watering food, suspenseful mystery, and characters to fall in love with. I guarantee this will sweep you away if only for a few hours. It’s available now so you can splurge immediately and purchase it or borrow it from your library!