Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy is a young adult historical fantasy novel that is set in Denmark in the 19th century. In this world secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift. For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy; it flows freely through her blood but every time she uses a bt of her magic a deadly, ice-like build-up replaces it, this build up is the Firn.
For the majority of the book we follow Marit and she tries to uncover the secrets that caused her fathers death. We follow her as she moves from the orphanage where her chosen sister also resides when she is one day chosen to be adopted by Helene Vestergaard. (Eves hero and very famous dancer). Marit manages to get a job as a seamstress at the vestergaard house to stay with Eve. whilst there she uncovers the secrets and lies that surrounds the Vestergaard mines.
I really liked this book, I thought it was just enough fantasy to keep you engaged however at the same time quite realistic. Yes, the use of magic isn’t all that real but I think they way that Murphy has written it in a way that it does seem like it is possible. The book is well written and easy to follow and the structure of the book is good, where it is split into fairly small chapters which follow a specific character (mainly Marit however towards the end we see more viewpoints).
Mystery is evident throughout the book and keeps you reading but alongside this there is many other themes of loss, friendship, love and magic. I think this book is a perfect mix. The mystery all comes to a head in the last few chapters which are so engaging and exciting that it keeps you on the edge of your seat (I won’t share what happens, that’s for you to find out !)
I really liked the character Marit, she is fierce and determined. after being orphaned after her fathers death and losing her elder sister to the Firn she carries on and whilst in the orphanage she meets Eve. Eve is her closest friend and the love she has for her is real. She wants what is best for Eve even if that effects herself and we see that more prominently as we read the book. I really liked this friendship as it did feel real, that they both met in this orphanage that brought them together and Marit following her to the Vesergaard to get a job where she can still be around her best friend. At times in the story you see their friendship falter and is affected by the world outside the orphanage but as we will them to be good again, you see how Marit is affected and want to fix whatever issues have occurred.
It wasn’t only Marit who I loved to meet but we get to meet a whole load of people from the Vestergaard household that gives this book much more depth and realism. We meet more of the servants that work in the house alongside Marit who all are willing to use their magic to keep the job in this house, no matter the risk. We also meet Helene herself, Eve’s new mother and her family. some good, some bad however all integral to the story.
Overall, I would say I really liked this book. I received it in the Book Box Subscription service and I am glad I did. I would definitely recommend to lovers of YA, historical fantasy and mystery lovers!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please feel free to comment and like )