The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith, 256 pp, RL 4
The Deep & Dark Blue
by Niki Smith
Purchased at Barnes & Noble
With The Deep & Dark Blue, Niki Smith world builds quickly and completely. Readers will fall into this world where the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women, learn to spin the blue threads that allow them to shape reality to their will, and the ruling families share a delicate balance of power. On the day of the solstice, after secretly watching the sisters perform a special blessing, twin brothers Hawke and Grayson's lives are changed forever when their cousin, Mirelle, stages a coup and kills their grandfather and their cousin, Reyden, rightful heir to the House of Sunderlay. Knowing that they are next in line, and next to be killed, Hawke and Grayson run for their lives. Knowing that solstice is also initiation day for the Communion of Blue, the boys disguise themselves as girls and hide amongst the girls.
Once initiated into the Communion of Blue, Hawke, now Hanna, is selected to train as a guardian and Grayson, now Grayce, is chosen to join the ranks of the spinners. Learning the ways of their new community, Grayce thrives, finding meaning in her training as a spinner, while Hanna balks at the weaponless defense training he is given. The two also find an old friend, Calia, daughter of one of the noble families, who is able to learn of news from outside the compound. With her help, Hanna and Grayce begin to plan to reclaim their royal home and avenge the deaths of the loved ones. Putting this plan in action calls on Grayce to draw deep from the skills she has learned, allowing her to accept something she has learned about herself - that she is a transgender girl and her home is with the Communion of Blue.
Fans of Molly Ostertag's Witch Boy series will love The Deep & Dark Blue and all readers will be drawn in by the action and emotion that bursts off every page, matched by the blues and magentas of Smith's palette.