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  • Kelly Jarvis

Book Review: The Vermilion Emporium by Jamie Pacton

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

The Vermilion Emporium by Jamie Pacton is a young adult fantasy novel that drips with beauty as it explores the value and cost of artistic creation.

The novel alternates between the limited omniscient perspectives of Twain, an orphan boy who discovers a strand of long-lost starlight, and Quinta, an orphan girl who learns how to weave starlight into lace that can heal wounds, tell stories, and sway opinions. The 17-year-old protagonists discover a magical curiosity shop, become the target of powerful forces who want to use their starlight lace for political gain, and, of course, fall in love.

The romance is predictable, as are the forces that conspire to pull the couple apart, but beneath the plot is a poignant commentary on art, science, beauty, and power that leads readers to contemplate the human desire for magic and the terrible sacrifices it requires.

Pacton creates an intriguing world where human story and starlight intersect. Her settings burst with color and light. Her characters experience love and loss.

The Vermilion Emporium will sweep you away to a fantasy world and return you to reality with a deeper understanding of magic and the artists who create it.

Review by Kelly Jarvis

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