Stefan Bachmann

About Cinders and Sparrows

Zita Brydgeborn, long-lost daughter of a glamorous and powerful dynasty of witches, is returning to reclaim her inheritance. When a scarecrow climbs over the garden wall, delivering her a letter naming her the owner of a distant castle full of ghosts and treasure, she jumps at the chance of adventure. But little does she know that she is about to be thrust into a centuries-old battle between good and evil. Her family was killed under mysterious circumstances. Zita is the last of her line. And Zita, unfortunately, doesn’t know the first thing about being a witch.

As she begins her lessons in charms and spells with her guardian, Mrs. Cantanker, Zita makes new allies—a crow, a talking marble head, two castle servants just her age named Bram and Minnifer, and the silent ghost of a green-eyed girl. But who is friend and who is foe? Zita must race to untangle her past and find the magic to save the home she’s always hoped for. Because whatever claimed the souls of her family is now after her.

Arriving October 13th, 2020




Discover the secrets of Blackbird Castle, wander its dangerous halls, poke your head into doorways. But beware, for not all of them will allow you to poke your head out again and you may be forced to part with it.


FOR Cinders and Sparrows

  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • An Indie Next Pick

“Bachmann’s worldbuilding is delightful. The castle is rich with enough ghosts and enchanted staircases to satisfy any fantasy lover, and the cast of characters . . . is well developed and engaging, especially intrepid narrator Zita. A suspenseful romp through an entertainingly witchy world.”

— Kirkus (Starred review)

“A spellbinding coming-of-age story. The halls of Blackbird Castle may be darkand haunted, but the characters that frequent it are warm and lively. Readers will fly through the pages.”

Soman Chainani, New York Times-bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil

“Through enticing details, Bachmann creates a singular, gothic world in which a long-declining class of psychopompic witches defend against the restless dead . . . intricately laid (and mislaid) trails, dreadful creatures, an absorbing atmosphere of escalating tension and paranoia, and moments of delightful magic all make for a memorable adventure.”

— Publishers Weekly