The Familiar

Flatiron. Apr. 2024. 400p. ISBN 9781250884251. $29.99. FANTASY
In Madrid, under the reigns of the king and the Catholic Church, during the time of the Inquisition, lives a scullion maid named Luzia who is hiding her ability to create little miracles such as restoring burned bread to new and stitching torn dresses. Luzia is hiding not only her abilities but also her Jewish lineage, both of which could get her executed for heresy. When Luzia’s mistress discovers the scullion maid’s abilities, she uses them to gain social power, only to have Luzia discovered by the wealthy Víctor de Paredes. Víctor is looking for someone to submit into a tournament for the king’s holy champion, as being the patron of the king’s champion would give him a chance to obtain even more power. Víctor provides Luzia with a mentor—his immortal familiar, Guillén Santángel—to improve her chances of winning the tournament. Santángel has been bonded with Víctor’s family for generations, but Víctor offers to release him from service if Luzia succeeds. Soon, Santángel’s feelings for Luzia complicate things.
VERDICT Bardugo (Hell Bent) masterfully weaves magical realism with historical fiction and romance, which makes this book impossible to put down. Great for fans of Rebecca Ross, Heather Fawcett, and Holly Black.
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