I don’t read much pure fantasy these days, generally preferring Urban Fantasy or Magical realism books (or just literary fiction) but I do like Frances Hardinge books even though I would class them as pure classical fantasy.
In the world of this book, strange magical spider like creatures have ‘gifted’ humans with the ability to curse other humans if they have strong negative feelings towards them. These curses have devastating effects often physically changing the cursed person into an animal or even an inanimate object.
The book follows Kellen who has the rare gift of unravelling these curses and restoring the person to their human form, and Nettle one of the first people he restored from the bird form that she had been cursed in to.
Like other books by Frances Hardinge, the plot is complex and wide ranging exploring the politics and power structures of the world, but also very approachable with real and interesting characters who the reader can learn to love and root for.
A Frances Hardinge book is always a treat.