The Pomegranate Gate (The Mirror Realm Cycle #1) (Hardcover)
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This is book number 1 in the The Mirror Realm Cycle series.
The first adventure in the Mirror Realm Cycle, a Spanish Inquisition-era fantasy trilogy inspired by Jewish folklore, with echoes of Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden.
Toba Peres can speak, but not shout; sleep, but not dream. She can write with both hands at once, in different languages, but she keeps her talents hidden at her grandparents’ behest.
Naftaly Cresques sees things that aren’t real, and dreams things that are. Always the family disappointment, Naftaly would still risk his life to honor his father’s last wishes.
After the Queen demands every Jew convert or face banishment, Toba and Naftaly are among thousands of Jews who flee their homes. Defying royal orders to abandon all possessions, Toba keeps an amulet she must never take off; Naftaly smuggles a centuries-old book he’s forbidden to read. But the Inquisition is hunting these particular treasures–and they’re not hunting alone.
Toba stumbles through a pomegranate grove into the mirror realm of the Mazik: mythical, terrible immortals with an Inquisition of their own, equally cruel and even more powerful. With the Mazik kingdoms in political turmoil, this Inquisition readies its bid to control both realms.
In each world, Toba and Naftaly must evade both Inquisitions long enough to unravel the connection between their family heirlooms and the realm of the Mazik. Their fates are tied to this strange place, and it’s up to them to save it.
Brimming with folkloric wonder, The Pomegranate Gate weaves history and magic into a spellbindingly intricate tale suffused with humor and heart.
About the Author
Ariel Kaplan grew up outside Washington, D.C., and spent most of her childhood reading fairy tales and mythology before settling on a deep love for Jewish folklore. She began studying the history of medieval Spain and the Convivencia while working on a Monroe Scholar project at the College of William & Mary, where she graduated with a degree in History and Religious Studies. She is the author of several books for younger readers. The Pomegranate Gate is her first fantasy novel.
“YA author Kaplan (We Are the Perfect Girl) draws readers into a bewitching folkloric world in her enthralling adult debut . . . The worldbuilding is lush and exciting, and the dynamics between the leads charm. . . . This spells good things for the series to come.” —Publishers Weekly
“[A] strong novel with brilliant, lyrical writing, appealing to readers across the fantasy genre. And personally, I need the follow-up desperately.” —Grimdark Magazine
“Refreshing . . . A unique take on Jewish history and legend.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Fans of Naomi Novik will love this novel rich in history and magic.” —BookBub
“The Pomegranate Gate is suffused with a sense of the numinous, with the marvelous and the strange. . . . Gorgeous and fascinating.” —Tor.com
“The world of The Pomegranate Gate is unmistakably Jewish, and the characters are unmistakably Jewish. In action, in language, in their beliefs. . . . A refreshing, promising opening to an interesting new series.” —Locus Magazine
“Wow, I loved it. It’s mythic and human, breathtaking and special. I want to read everything Ariel Kaplan does. You’ll break the rules and eat the fruit just so you can stay in this magical world for a little while longer.” —C.L. Polk, Nebula Award-winning author of Even Though I Knew the End
“The Pomegranate Gate is a spellbinding work of storytelling, teeming with rich mythology and intricate mirror worlds, court politics and adventure, warmth and wit and darkness and profoundly real characters who will stay with you long after you turn the last page. I loved everything about this book.” —H.G. Parry, author of The Magician’s Daughter
“An amazing, exciting book, full of Jewish lore, history, and enchantment!” —Veronica Schanoes, author of Burning Girls and Other Stories
“The Pomegranate Gate is an unforgettable journey to a world lush with magic and imagination. Every page is unearthly and delightful in equal measure—I couldn’t put it down.” —Natasha Siegel, author of Solomon’s Crown
“The sweeping Jewish epic fantasy I’ve been waiting for all my life.” —Rebecca Fraimow, author of The Iron Children
“Captivating. A humane, and sometimes harrowing, mythohistory that unfolds effortlessly into convincing dream logic. Kaplan's attention to the laws, consequences, and loopholes of magic can only be described as Talmudic” —Elijah Kinch Spector, author of Kalyna the Soothsayer