The Kingdom of Little Wounds
The Kingdom of Little Wounds tells a series of interlocking tales set against the backdrop of the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn in 1572. Queen Isabella and her children are falling into madness and dying from a mysterious ailment, and her just-married oldest daughter, Sophia, is the first to go. King Christian is becoming prey to a would-be usurper and his treacherous lies. Ava Bingen, a young seamstress, has just made a mistake that traps her in the position of an informer, while Midi Sorte, a mute nursemaid, is simply hoping to get through her day-to-day life and use her gift for writing in the service of the reclusive court historian. Unbeknownst to her, Ava’s spying sets off a chain of events that will irrevocably intertwine the fates of the two servants and the royal family as they fight for their country’s survival as well as their own.
The Kingdom of Little Wounds is a masterfully told tale with many layers of symbolism and hidden meaning. It was obvious that a lot of careful work had gone into crafting this novel, and I appreciated that very much. That said, I also felt that the depth of the book as well as its large amount of explicit content made it better suited for an adult audience than a YA one; there were many instances of sexual abuse and consensual sex, as well as horrible illnesses and death, and none of these scenes was whitewashed in the least. I would be very hesitant to recommend this book to anyone under the age of 16 or 17, as younger readers might find its more graphic scenes disturbing.