Defiant

Karina Sumner-Smith. Skyhorse/Talos, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-940456-26-3
In this inventive second Towers Trilogy fantasy (following Radiant), Sumner-Smith delves deeper into the dark, destructive magic that is making protagonist Xhea’s life a living hell (described rather melodramatically). Going underground is something most inhabitants of the Lower City can’t do: their bright magic, used as both raw power and currency, clashes horribly with the uncomfortable corridors and causes explorers untold pain. But Xhea is different. She has very rare dark magic, and the dank, abandoned areas below ground have long been her home. In order to save herself, she must find out where her powers come from and how to use them. She also has to figure out her complicated relationship with Shai, an immensely powerful ghost attached to Xhea by a magical tether. New readers will struggle to catch up, but returning fans will appreciate that Sumner-Smith has done a fine job of setting up the final good vs. evil, rich vs. poor magical showdown. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/16/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
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