From bestselling and award-winning author Traci Chee comes a standalone fantasy set against a war-ravaged world where kindling warfare—the use of elite, magic-wielding teenage soldiers—has been outlawed. In this rich and evocative novel, seven kindlings search for purpose and identity as they prepare for one final battle. For fans of the classic films Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven.
Once, the war was fought with kindlings—elite, magic-wielding warriors whose devastating power comes at the cost of their own young lives.
Now the war is over, and kindlings have been cast adrift—their magic outlawed, their skills outdated, their formidable balar weapons prized only as relics and souvenirs.
Violence still plagues the countryside, and memories haunt those who remain. When a village comes under threat of siege, it offers an opportunity for seven kindlings to fight one last time. But war changed these warriors. And to reclaim who they once were, they will have to battle their pasts, their trauma, and their grim fates to come together again—or none of them will make it out alive.
From bestselling and award-winning author Traci Chee comes a gut-wrenching, introspective fantasy about seven lost soldiers searching for the peace they once fought for and the future in which they’re finally daring to believe.
About the Author
Traci Chee is the New York Times bestselling author of The Reader Trilogy; National Book Award finalist and Printz honoree, We Are Not Free; and the YA standalone fantasies Kindling and National Book Award longlist title, A Thousand Steps into Night. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at egg painting, gardening, and hosting game nights for family and friends. She lives in California with her fast dog.
"A heartrending, must-read fantasy about youth searching for home and learning to survive a world not designed for them." — School Library Journal (starred review)
"Both a mesmerizing fantasy adventure and a haunting meditation on shared trauma." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A thorough and gut-wrenching exploration of finding reasons to move forward after devastating loss and darkness and how community and connection can breed hope that will linger with readers long after the last page." — Booklist (starred review)
"Teeming with frank examinations of war, violence, PTSD, imperialism, colonialism, and all they entail, this somber fantasy will challenge readers mentally and emotionally." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Inventive." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books