Upon his death, Astrid Lethewood’s father, Albert, left her a house she never knew he owned. She, like everybody else, thought he was the town wastrel, spending his wife’s money on booze and things from junk shops. Still, Astrid loved her father and wants to build a home, a family, in this house he left her. First her step-brother Jacks moves in, running away from the expectations of his father, the town fire chief. Then Astrid’s oldest friend Sahara calls, saying that her boyfriend cheated on her and she’s taking his cat and car and coming to Astrid. Astrid is delighted both because Sahara is her best friend and because Astrid has been in love with Sahara for as long as anybody can remember.
Shortly after Sahara arrives, Astrid finds a stash of some of her father’s junk. She begins fiddling with an old kaleidoscope and discovers she can see through walls with it. Strangest of all, she starts to remember using the kaleidoscope before. She soon discovers that all the junk objects that Albert loved so much have magical powers. Astrid share the knowledge with Sahara and Jacks; Sahara wants to use the magic immediately while Jacks advices caution. As Astrid starts to remember more and more about this strange magic and Albert instructing her in its use, she becomes more nervous. Is she doing the right thing? Should she have involved Jacks and Sahara? Can she have the life she wants while being the guardian of a magic well?
This is a lovely book. It’s easy to feel for Astrid as she navigates her feelings for her friends (even if you want to smack her for being an idiot about Sahara sometimes), her new life as a magician, and a new view of her father, who it seems was a hero instead of a loser. The world building is solid, with deep roots, bring history into the mix in a logical and interesting way. All in all, if you’re a fan of fantasy books, this is a delightful book to read.
I do have one major problem. But it is with the publisher and not the book itself. Do you see the image below (click to enbiggen)? On the left, we have the preview, meant to entice people into buying the book. Then we have the same scene in the actual narration. Notice the difference? The difference is they removed the reference to “female loves.” Meaning the publisher removed the gay. To sell more books. Flames. Flames on the side of my face. What the absolute fuck, publisher? Please stop being bigoted assholes, okay?