Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

!!To protect your privacy, please remember to log out when you are finished. The Log Out button is at the top of the page.!!

The kingdom of little wounds /

On the eve of Princess Sophia's wedding the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the... Full description

Main Author:
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Candlewick Press, 2013
Edition: First edition.
Subjects:
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
View on New Catalog
Cover Image
Saved in:
SUMMARY

A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

A young seamstress and a royal nursemaid find themselves at the center of an epic power struggle in this stunning young-adult debut.

On the eve of Princess Sophia's wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne's heirs, and a courtier's wolfish hunger for the king's favors sets a devious plot in motion. Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem -- and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.


Review by Booklist Review

Skyggehavn, a fictional sixteenth-century kingdom, is a desperate place plagued by ­madness, disease, and mercury poisoning. Political intrigue, murder, and manipulation abound as Cokal wends the troubling tale of Ava, an aspiring royal seamstress, and Midi, a mute foreign nursemaid, who together orchestrate a daring gambit to ensure both the continued power of the reigning queen and the downfall of the cruel man who sadistically took advantage of them both. The author seamlessly interweaves crooked fairy tales throughout her dark story, which only serves to underscore the grim realities of the women who suffer terrible violence at the hands of brutal men. The graphic depictions of sex and rape make this a difficult read and reserve it for the most mature readers though Cokal gives a powerful and poignant voice to both Ava and Midi, whose indignation simmers until they enact a gruesome form of revenge. Despite the challenging content, the book's lyrical writing, enthralling characters, and compelling plot will give older readers lots to ponder.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

"I have always loved a fairy tale." So says Ava Bingen, a young seamstress in the palace of the fictional Scandinavian city of Skyggehaven. Dark and bloody fairy tales inform this dense, 16th-century narrative, richly layered with multiple viewpoints: Ava, the mad Queen Isabel, the dangerously weak King Christian, the diabolically ambitious Lord Nicolas, and the mute, literate African nursery-slave, Midi Sorte. In her first novel for young adults, adult author Cokal (Mirabilis; Breath and Bones) explores the landscape of the female body as it has been for so long: property of parents or husband, subject to the needs of family and state. During a time of deadly court intrigue and disturbing portents-a new star in the sky, a muddy vortex in the earth-Ava, Midi, and Isabel negotiate their individual paths of survival until their fates are woven together, giving them a chance to save the kingdom and each other. Though the novel's frank and upsetting depictions of rape, child-marriage, miscarriage, and syphilis mark this title for mature readers, its brutality, eloquence, and scope are a breathtaking combination. Ages 16-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 11 Up-Cokal here paints an unflinchingly grim portrait of 16th-century palace life as experienced by both servants and royalty. Something is rotten in the fictional Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn as doomed Princess Sophia prepares to wed a man nearly twice her senior. During the celebration, royal seamstress Ava Maria Bingen accidently pricks Queen Isabel during an emergency gown repair, but instead of facing the requisite dismissal (or worse, death), Ava is recruited by narcissistic Lord Nicolas. Stationed in the royal nursery as a spy, Ava's destiny becomes entwined with that of mute nursemaid, Midi Sorte. Betrayal, murder, and political intrigue abound as these women struggle to survive in an environment that uses and abuses them in horrific ways. Cokal's prose is lyrical and beautiful. Characters-even minor ones-are exquisitely rendered, each with complex and often heartbreaking backstories. Reader Susan Duerden is exceptionally versatile. The story and its inhabitants spring to vivid life through her expert touch. However, some caution: frequent and explicit accounts of sexual acts, abuse, disease, and death make this one inappropriate for all but the most mature listeners. It is a superb audiobook, but consider the limited teen appeal before purchasing.-Alissa Bach, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Susann Cokal is the author of two adult novels, Mirabilis and Breath and Bones , and her short stories and literary criticisms have been widely published in literary journals and The New York Times Book Review . This is her first novel for young adults. Currently an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, she lives in Richmond, Virginia.


Similar Items