Abrams/Amulet. Aug. 2022. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419752674.
Gr 9 Up–In the city of Eidyn Crag, the Players, a group of young and wealthy trendsetters, weave their influence, leaving people like Ella out in the cold. Despite Ella’s skill with a loom, she lives hand-to-mouth since her father died in a debtor’s prison. Now, her livelihood depends on the whims of her one client, a Player named Odina. When Ella’s loom breaks, her dreams of independence splinter, too. Desperate, Ella bargains with the cursed Bean-Nighe: in exchange for some of Ella’s blood, the Bean-Nighe repairs the loom, but some magic continues to flow through it, enchanting Ella’s fabrics. Realizing what Ella’s beguiling cloth can do, Callum, the leader of the Players, offers her his patronage. She latches onto him, greedy for power, influence, and wealth, becoming so immersed in Callum and Odina’s world that she doesn’t realize she is in danger of losing herself. Initially, Ella’s character reads as one-note as she molds herself to fit into the expectations of the Players, and as such, her relationship with the mercurial Callum feels contrived. However, once the board is set, readers are rewarded with a twist that shows the previous events of the book in a new and sinister light. Eventually, Ella comes into her own and discovers her true worth in a very satisfying ending. Drug use, sexuality, and abusive relationships make this a title for older teens. The city of Eidyn Crag is reminiscent of a historic Scotland and most of the characters cue white, except for Odina whose skin is light brown and hair is dark.
VERDICT Recommended for secondary collections where fantasy stories are popular.

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