cover image Race the Sands

Race the Sands

Sarah Beth Durst. Harper Voyager, $16.99 trade paper (544p) ISBN 978-0-06-288861-7

Durst (the Queens of Renthia series) imbues a thrill-filled story about monster racing with impressive thematic depth and a refreshing spectrum of female characters. Whenever human evildoers die in the land of Becar, they reincarnate as vicious kehoks, hulking beasts that combine traits of different animals. Their only chance of being freed from this monstrous form is winning the popular desert races, ridden by risk-taking humans. Tamra Verlas, once an elite kehok rider, has fallen on financial ruin that puts her at risk of losing her daughter. When her wealthy patron, Lady Evara, challenges Tamra to train a new winner in exchange for a cut of the prize, Tamra takes on desperate rookie Raia, pairing her with an untested leonine kehok, unaware that this kehok may house a powerful soul that could play a vital role in Becar’s future. Durst consistently defies expectations in both plot and characterization while exploring sophisticated themes of found family, integrity, and morality. This excellent epic fantasy will appeal to adult fans of YA authors Tamora Pierce and Megan Whalen Turner. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Literary. (Mar.)