Exceptionally-intriguing fantasy novels by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, who's won all kinds of writing awards--Bram Stoker, World Fantasy. The Thread that Binds the Bones and The Silent Strength of Stones deal with an extended family of magic-users, and all the moral/social/familial dilemmas in which they find themselves, in relationships within the family and with outsiders. The magic is believable, all tied up with dead ancestors and unseeable spirits and ancient family history, and it varies from person to person, family to family, generation to generation, like any other inherited trait (instead of "Oh, she's got her grandmother's blue eyes!" it becomes "Oh, she's got her grandmother's second sight!"). Thread deals with the arrival of an outsider, unrelated to the Family in any way, whose inate powers are different from, and stronger in some ways, than those of the Family, and who falls in love all in an instant with a semi-despised daughter of the Family, and between the two of them, the slow steady decline into evil behavior begins to reverse. Stones deals with a long-lost unknown cousin of the Family, living on his own, unaware of his potential, who meets up with some of his relatives and comes of age. They're good, really really good. Eerie, resonant, by-the-pricking-of-my-thumbs stuff...
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