A collection of short stories by the genius of Natural History of Dragons.
The great empire of Balladaire is having issues with rebels in their Qazal region. It's the perfect chance for the young princess Luca to prove herself worthy of the throne...
Alyce is a Dark Grace. Actually the only Dark Grace. While the regular Graces have fairy magic and can make little tinctures to give people purple eyes, or make them witty, or other little perks for a limited time, Alyce's powers make items of the opposite effects: warts, hiccups, and death (in special cases).
From the very beginning... and continuing for quite a while... I could just not figure out what this book was about. It starts off with all these references to hands and numbers and then there's the 'saints' and ... all I know is that this woman works for this gangster and she kind of wants out, and you don't get out. You get dead.
Sarah Calhoun, nicknamed (by others) Witchy Eye, has an ugly eye. Swollen, painful. Sure she can cast hexes and do little magics but, other than being the youngest daughter of the respected hero Calhoun, she doesn't reckon she's special.
Elizabeth gets a job at a type of library with very strange collections, including the Grimm Collection of magical items. Elizabeth feels a strong connection to this place, feels like she belongs here more than at school or at home, and she is finally making some friends. But someone has been stealing these rarities, and one library page (helper) has already disappeared. Whom can she really trust?
In hell there are libraries. They've got to keep track of stuff like everybody else. And one of those collections is of the Unwritten, every single book that could ever be or could ever have been... but isn't. Occasionally, the books awaken, manifest as one of the characters in the story, and attempt to leave the Library. Maybe they want to go explore the world. Maybe they want to encourage their author (if still living) to write the book and make them real(?). Maybe they want to prevent the author from writing the book because their lot isn't good. Whatever the case, they try to cause trouble, and it's up to the Librarian to keep her books under control.
Alice discovers that fairies are real. Meaning magic is real. Meaning the world is full of possibilities she didn't even know existed before. Then her father disappears, supposedly dead—but, Alice reasons, because magic is real, so is the possibility that her father is still alive. Alice is sent to live with her 'uncle Jerry' who turns out to be the magician Geryon, who wants Alice to be his apprentice, and who has a mysterious magical library full of talking cats. Alice learns what it means to be a "Reader", how to conquer bits of magic and meld them to her control, and that the community of Readers is a backstabbing untrustworthy lot.
Carolyn grew up in a library. If that sounds nice, keep reading. As one of a handful of children taken at a young age, she is instructed to learn her specialty. Hers is language. Other ones are stuff like death and violence and animals. The children are mostly unsupervised and it's possible Carolyn holds some hard feelings against the others. But no matter. What really matters is the library, and doing as they are told by their Father, who might kind of be God. Until he disappears.