The Night Burns Bright by Ross Barkan

The Night Burns Bright by Ross Barkan

Lucien has everything he needs: a loving mama, a library full of books, and House of Earth, a private school nestled safely in the woods of upstate New York. It’s where Lucien is taught the importance of living in harmony with nature and building a peaceful and sustainable future. But when his youthful curiosity draws him into town and to Gabrielle, a public-school student living a life wholly different from his own, Lucien’s inquisitiveness about life beyond the commune and questions regarding the events of 9/11 threaten to unbalance everything he thought he knew… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings

  • Child abuse & neglect
  • Parental abandonment
  • Dead bodies
  • Starvation
  • Branding
  • Murder
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The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Slavery
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Dead body
  • Blood & gore depiction
  • Branding

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

F

ar beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is… Read more.

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Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Suicidal ideation mentioned
  • Forced drug use
  • Removal of a tongue mentioned
  • Branding
  • Kidnapping
  • Drowning
  • Animal death mentioned
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This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made… Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Amnesia
  • Nightmares
  • Nonconsensual branding & scars
  • Medical experimentation
  • Death of a mother & father recounted
  • Murder
  • Knife & sword violence
  • Explosion
  • Disappearance of a sibling
  • Kidnapping
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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo book cover

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Classism
  • Victim blaming
  • Facial difference discrimination
  • Persecution for witchcraft (mentioned)
  • Rape and sexual assault (recounted)
  • Parental abandonment (implied)
  • Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicide attempt as self-sacrifice (recounted)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood and gore depiction, dead bodies, eyeball trauma and branding
  • Physical sickness and scars
  • Death of a brother, son, girlfriend and friend (recounted)
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Explosion, knife violence, physical assault and poisoning
  • Captivity, blackmail, hostage situation, exile and banishment
  • War themes
  • Animal death and bodies (recounted), hunting
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The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

The daughter of a union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement.

But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood that surrounds Bethel – a place where the first prophet once pursued and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realises the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her . . .

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism & colourism
  • Misogyny
  • Slut-shaming
  • Ableist language
  • Persecution for witchcraft
  • Physical, verbal & emotional child abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Rape & statutory rape recounted
  • Paedophilia & child molestation recounted
  • Forced nonconsensual marriage*
  • Exile & ex-communication
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Suicide recounted
  • Self-harm & self-inflicted injuries
  • Pregnancy & child pregnancy (secondary character)
  • Death from childbirth (two on-page scenes), and mentions of miscarriage & stillbirth
  • Graphic blood depiction & menstruation discussed
  • Plague (multiple)
  • Seizures & stroke (side character)
  • Nonconsensual branding
  • Emesis
  • Death of a mother & father recounted
  • Death of a son recounted
  • Death of a best friend (on-page)
  • Strangulation
  • Drowning
  • Being burned alive
  • Earthquake
  • Imprisonment & captivity
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Knife violence & stabbing
  • Animal death & sacrifice

Note: This book portrays a cult which uses its beliefs to justify abuse, torture, misogyny, racism & paedophilia, including the marriage, rape (‘bedding’) & impregnation of multiple children (not graphic or on-page, but mentioned & discussed by secondary characters).

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The Impossible Contract by KA Doore

The Impossible Contract by K.A. Doore

Thana has a huge reputation to live up to as daughter of the Serpent, who rules over Ghadid’s secret clan of assassins. Opportunity to prove herself arrives when Thana accepts her first contract on Heru, a dangerous foreign diplomat with the ability to bind a person’s soul under his control.

She may be in over her head, especially when Heru is targeted by a rival sorcerer who sends hordes of the undead to attack them both. When Heru flees, Thana has no choice than to pursue him across the sands to the Empire that intends to capture Ghadid inside its iron grip… Read more.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Racism
  • Slavery
  • Colonialism themes
  • Sex work shaming & slurs
  • Self-injury for blood magic
  • Graphic blood & gore depiction, including dead bodies
  • Physical injuries & illness
  • Emesis
  • Nonconsensual branding
  • Murder & attempted murder (theme)
  • Poisoning
  • Knife violence
  • Graphic strangulation & garrotting
  • Severe dehydration depiction & water scarcity
  • Graphic fire & result loss of property
  • Animal murder discussed & animal death
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