The Threads of Magic by Alison Croggon
Long ago in Clarel city, witches were held in high esteem. But now witchcraft is outlawed, and it is rumoured that soul-stealing ‘Spectres’ are gaining power. Pip lives with his sister, El, in the Choke Alleys of Clarel. Their existence is miserable. When Pip pickpockets the wrong person he winds up deep in trouble. He has stolen a strange, powerful object – a shrivelled-up heart, magically bound in a silver casket.
Pip’s theft has unwittingly reignited an ancient war. Old and new allies emerge in a desperate bid to keep the heart from falling into the wrong hands and both the witches and Spectres will stop at nothing to get the heart back. Dark magic trapped the heart for the sole purpose of destroying Spectres. But with its powers now unlocked the long-suffering heart is primed for revenge.
This is a rich, dark adventure full of twists and turns for fans of Karen Foxlee and Cornelia Funke aged 9+.