I can't remember much about this book hence why I wanted to re-read it but its power cost is unique enough to set it apart.

People had this magic, very powerful but it had a hefty cost, any spell no matter how small turned a part of the casters body to stone. They could move regularly until they used it too much to the point they were 100% stone then they became a statue.

Another big thing I remember is the main character (a male kid) saved some girl from a basement and turns out she was some sort of entity. The girl in return gave the kid every spell created. So he knew how to do a bunch of spells but the cost was the same.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. When did you read this? Do you recall any details of the cover or art?
    – DavidW
    May 18, 2021 at 10:44
  • @DavidW I'd say 2017 around then and I think the cover had a hammer very simple but it looked like a new cover. May 18, 2021 at 11:14
  • 3
    In N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth series using magic gradually turns you to crystal as you describe, but it doesn't fit the rest of your description and none of the covers have a hammer on them. May 18, 2021 at 12:27
  • @JohnRennie - yeah, that was my first thought too. I'm trying to think how it could get twisted around, but I can't even remember any male PoV characters there.
    – Radhil
    May 18, 2021 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


So, as @JohnRennie mentioned in comment, this sounds a lot like the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin.

Specifically, I think you were reading the second book in the trilogy, The Obelisk Gate, which has pieces and fragments of what you describe, just not quite matching all the way.

  • Rare people called Orogenes have a kind of Earth magic that can unleash or quell earthquakes at will, moving the energy around. At a certain level of strength, that magic starts resonating with the Earth and starts turning the user's body to stone. They are severely persecuted and enslaved, ostensibly to keep the world from ending.
  • One of the two main characters, Essun, a mother and orogene looking for her daughter, takes refuge in an underground town of sorts. It's a lot like a geode, and has a false town on top of it, with secret entrances from some basements.
  • Alabaster, a sometime ally orogene and with a lot of history with Essun, has basically started the end of the world, in an attempt to fix it. This has kickstarted his turning to stone, and he spends most of the book in an infirmary. Essun over the course of the book also hits this point.
  • Alabaster has an ally, a Stone Eater, who has a female form and has provided him with a lot of information on the history of his art and skills.

Not really matching:

  • The book cover does not have a hammer, but some ornate stonework, at least in the versions I find.
  • Alabaster is never really a main character, although he does figure prominently in Essun's story and history.

I know this post is nearly 3 years old by now but in case anyone else (like me) was trying to find this book. It's called Knights Of The Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden.

Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life—orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought. . . .

On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen soon learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny, or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive?


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