Tucholke delivers exquisite worldbuilding and imaginative characters, and Torvi's tale is packed with peril and no small amount of sacrifice—even a touch of romance. Her story also speaks to the joy found in spending time with loyal friends as well as the power and magic of storytelling. Readers won't want this one to end...Simply stunning.
--Kirkus starred review
In this elegant YA fantasy inspired by Arthurian legend and ancient Norse culture...Tucholke conjures a mythic, richly described landscape that serves well as the backdrop for familiar names and concepts. The strong focus on found family and feminine strength further enhances this tale’s emotional impact.
--Publishers Weekly starred review
In this gorgeous standalone companion to the critically acclaimed fantasy, The Boneless Mercies, April Tucholke spins a bold and blood-hungry retelling of the King Arthur legend that is perfect for fans of Naomi Novik, Garth Nix, and Laini Taylor.
On the heels of a devastating plague, Torvi’s sister, Morgunn is stolen from the family farm by Uther, a flame-loving Fremish wolf-priest who leads a pack of ragged, starving girls. Torvi leaves the only home she’s ever known, and joins a shaven-skulled druid and a band of roaming Elsh artists known as the Butcher Bards. They set out on a quest to rescue Torvi’s sister, and find a mythical sword.
On their travels, Torvi and her companions will encounter magical night wilds and mystical Drakes who trade in young men. They will sing rowdy Elshland ballads in a tree-town tavern, and find a mysterious black tower in an Endless Forest. They will fight alongside famous Vorseland archers and barter with Fremish wizards. They will feast with rogue Jade Fell children in a Skal Mountain cave, and seek the help of a Pig Witch. They will face wild, dangerous magic that leads to love, joy, tragedy, and death.
Torvi set out to rescue a sister, but she may find it’s merely the first step toward a life that is grander and more glorious than anything she could have imagined.
First chapter excerpt on Bustle
"The Boneless Mercies feels like a cathartic war cry advocating for the power of girls and women. [...] A dynamic critique of the hero's journey: Who is granted honor and glory, and at what cost does it come?"
"...a deeply feminist update to its source material."
--The New York Times
"These fierce, honorable adolescent female warriors hold their own and break all the rules. Wow."
--Kirkus, Starred Review
"Tucholke injects close intimacy into her lush saga, interweaving love and murder, mercy and glory into her portrayal of life and death. It is a beautiful, haunting modern-day epic that stars a bold and resourceful sisterhood of heroines unafraid to claim agency."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Frey embodies the pursuit of glory through a quest to become a hero remembered in story and myth. Fans of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings will find similar themes and elements. This is a must-have for avid fantasy readers who enjoy action-packed plots. VERDICT An excellent choice for any YA fantasy collection."
--School Library Journal, Starred Review
"Frey’s earnest narrative voice creates a strong sense of the center of this fantasy: female solidarity. Bodily closeness, a shared quest for justice, and sheer joy in physical capacity are only part of it: collaboration and attentive respect are the true underpinning of Tucholke’s creation. This is the quiet force behind a plot of conquest and adventure, and of the diverse religions, cultures, terrains, and tales that make up Tucholke’s invented world. A dark and vivid story, with what-happens-next? momentum."
--The Horn Book
"Fierce and glorious, this story of outcast girls defying fate utterly bewitched me. Tucholke is a gorgeous writer."
--Laini Taylor, New York Times-bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer
Trained warriors kill loudly. We kill silently. And that is how you hunt a beast.
Frey yearns for a life worthy of saga and song. But she is a Boneless Mercy, a member of an ancient female sect that has survived the rising and falling of kingdoms.
Mercies are death-traders, doomed to roam Vorseland killing the old or the sick for meager pay. Their methods are quiet, even merciful, yet wherever the seasons lead them, their daggers inspire unease. Frey and her band of Mercies--Ovie, Runa, and Juniper--are weary of the death trade and dream of a bigger life. So when Frey hears that a beast is slaughtering people in a northern jarldom, she decides that killing it is the Mercies’ chance at fame and fortune, even if it means they must align with the reclusive Sea Witches and face the ruthless Cut-Queen of the Red Willow Marsh. Their success—or failure—might change the fate of women everywhere.
"Ruthless and lyrical, heart-warming and blood-chilling, and beautifully redolent of ancient tales and history. It will sing to a new generation of heroes."
--Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Season
"The Boneless Mercies maintains the mystical, haunting flavor of an ancient ballad across the length of a novel. Its every page hints at a deeper magic at work; it contains a whole world and all its myths and histories within its skin."
--Melissa Albert, New York Times-bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Seven Endless Forests, The Boneless Mercies, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Between the Spark and the Burn, and Wink Poppy Midnight. Her books have been published in sixteen countries, and have received ten starred reviews. They have been selected for the Junior Library Guild, Kids' Indie Next picks, and YALSA Teens Top Ten. When she's not writing, April likes walking in the woods and exploring abandoned houses.