Juniper and Thorn by Ava Reid is a horror retelling of the Juniper Tree myth.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites.Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.
People want to ruin things that are clean and new. It’s no fun stamping through old dirty snow.
Our names were the best spell that Papa had ever cast, better than rabbit’s feet or burning sage. They were a veil of protection, a caul that never came off. I imagined my father murmuring a prayer for each of his daughters as he pulled us from between our mother’s legs.
You should know, of course, that there are only two kinds of mothers in stories. And if you are a mother, you are either wicked or you are dead.
“You’re so inscrutable, Marlinchen. I think you like bewitching me.”