Shallow plotting and sketchy worldbuilding plague this dystopian fantasy from Eshbaugh (the Ivory and Bone duology). In Lanoria, high-born “Enchanteds” possess magic, while low-born “Outsiders” are inoculated against it and must complete lengthy indentures for citizenship. Outsider Astrid Jael, 17, is 10 years into her sentence as Princess Reyna’s surrogate, suffering physical punishments for Reyna’s misdeeds, when she persuades the royal family to allow her ailing Outsider father to visit the Citizen’s Hospital. Regrettably, he dies before receiving treatment, leaving Astrid’s 11-year-old brother Marlon without a caretaker. Determined to improve Marlon’s prospects, Astrid enters the Race of Oblivion, a cutthroat contest whose prize is family-wide citizenship. Like the other participants, Astrid awakes in the countryside with amnesia and only a list of instructions and a map to the first clue. But she quickly secures an advantage thanks to a wary alliance with vexatious competitor Darius and her own mystical abilities, which no Outsider should have. Secondary characters lack complexity, but Astrid and Darius’s reluctant attraction provides sufficient drama and tension to propel this derivative tale to a satisfactory conclusion. Ages 13–up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary.(Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/18/2019 Release date: 11/01/2019 Genre: Children's
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