cover image Seven Faceless Saints (Seven Faceless Saints #1)

Seven Faceless Saints (Seven Faceless Saints #1)

M.K. Lobb. Little, Brown, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-38688-3

Magically gifted Roz Lacertosa and soldier Damian Venturi, estranged former sweethearts, join forces to catch a killer in Lobb’s richly textured, medieval Italy–inspired fantasy debut. Though the residents of Ombrazia are all descended from one of seven saints, only those blessed with their patron saint’s magic become disciples, enjoying privileged lives while “unfavored” citizens are sent to war. Roz and Damian were inseparable until Roz developed powers, and both Roz’s father and Damian were drafted. Damian survived his tour, but Roz’s father was executed by Damian’s father, a general, for desertion. Now, Damian heads the disciples’ security force, while Roz conspires with rebels to dismantle Ombrazia’s inequitable system. When two unfavored kids and a disciple are murdered, Damian’s superiors order him to focus solely on solving the disciple’s killing, prompting a furious Roz to seek justice for the kids. Damian suspects the crimes are related, however, leading the two investigations to intersect. Scarcely described but emotionally complex characters, rhythmic writing, and a cunningly crafted mystery distinguish Lobb’s series launch, which balances action and romance with meditations on faith and fate. Roz and Damian’s unresolved feelings and a pinwheeling third-person narrative foster tension throughout. Ages 14–up. Agent: Claire Friedman, InkWell Management. (Feb.)