THESE SHATTERED SPIRES de Cassidy Ellis Salter

A crossover upper-YA gothic fantasy, with the snark and worldbuilding of Gideon the Ninth mixed with the romances and backstabbing of The Atlas Six.

by Cassidy Ellis Salter
On submission
(via Zeno Agency)

The world of Fourspires, is lucious in its grotesqueness. It is a world constantly on the edge of self-destruction and, whether you’re slinking through the rerouting passages of the library or fighting off cutlery-welding starvings in the poisonous forests of the Ulcer, it propulsively pulls you through unforgettable tableaus.

The crumbling castle of Fourspires is the centre of the sole city that exists under the desecrae, a bloody, domed sky that encloses this small world. This is a world where mirrors are banned lest they allow horrors through, where dead nuns stalk the corridors looking to snap the necks of rule breakers, and where magic is real but comes with a price. Because you can reanimate the dead, control someone through their blood or simply make the flowers grow, but it comes with pain. Pain so unbearable you would do anything to avoid it. Which is why Fourspires developed a system of human familiars. Now Arcanists can go about their days quite happily, knowing that their young familiars will be forced to take the pain for all their magic.

Taro and Nixie just graduated from The Academy of familiars. And they’ve been assigned to the head arcanists of the Bone and Botanist disciplines. As high familiars they see each other all the time, but they can never talk, never touch. Which is a shame for Taro because she thinks they’re in love and Nixie is her girlfriend. It’s also a shame for Nixie, because she hates Taro with a passion and wants to throttle her. Despite their differences, on the eve our story begins, Taro and Nixie are planning to escape. Anything’s better than the life of a familiar and, if they can just sneak out of the castle, maybe they can kiss each other or kill each other – whichever’s more practical.

But that’s the night the Tick Tock king finally dies and everything is thrown into chaos. In 48-hours, Taro and Nixie will have to accompany their arcanists into The Fifth Tower and kill or be killed in the fight to the top…

THESE SHATTERER SPIRES is a twisty, multiple-viewpoint tale that keeps you guessing until the very last page. It’s also a very prescient, very necessary novel, prominently featuring queer characters, characters struggling with their gender identity and characters with selective mutism.

Cassidy Ellis Salter is a queer, non-binary author from London’s Brixton. They have published two middle grade books (The Bone Snatcher and Where the Woods End) and THESE SHATTERED SPIRES is their first fantasy for older readers. They work in marketing in their day job and have a personal author TikTok account where their videos have amassed more than a million views and they now have just shy of 10,000 followers. Alis’ struggle to discover themselves as non-binary is very much based on Cassidy’s own coming to terms with their gender identity.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email