When an estranged daughter of a crime lord is forced to marry the son of a rival crew to unite the city against their former colonizers, she negotiates a boon for her sacrifice. The chance to attend an academy of shadow magic. But as she learns to defend her city, she finds a threat within as crews deal anything for power. Even if the asking price is blood.
“Yaya,” Lamia called. She stood before Itzel’s window with a view out to sea and snapped closed the book on her sister Sparrow’s lap.
Itzel peered out, catching sight of too many men in gold and emerald striding through the sleepy stalls of the fruit, fish and artisan market at this late noon hour.
Yet another slip of a girl in the network at Grandmother Sparrow’s behest let herself into Itzel’s apartment. Locks were merely a suggestion and knocks a courtesy they paid only to Itzel. The Sparrow’s delivery and the message she carried was curt. Written in Sarai De Leon’s elegant hand, it warned Itzel to prepare for their father’s call to dinner.
“Crows approach,” the Sparrow said.
“Yes, thank you,” Lamia said drily, remaining at attention.
Instead of asking for more of the Sparrow’s report, Itzel told the girl to fill her belly in the kitchen before returning to her watch or the monastery at the base of the Black Spire Cathedral Valentin’s Sparrows called home.
Assigned to shadow Lamia, the young girl sat expectantly on a settee had declared herself the envy of her sister Sparrows because in being close to Lamia she was near Itzel. That was until Itzel had urged her to read aloud for practice.
“I remember, yaya, interruptions to your reading were met on point of your favorite axe,” Itzel said, reopening the closed book.