cover image Echoes and Empires (Echoes and Empires #1)

Echoes and Empires (Echoes and Empires #1)

Morgan Rhodes. Razorbill, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-35165-9

Rhodes’s (the Falling Kingdoms series) fast-paced fantasy duology starter opens in the Regarian Empire, whose monarch is fighting to eradicate “every last trace of magic” from the land. Seventeen-year-old socialite Josslyn Drake, who cues as white, supports this goal since her father—former prime minister of the empire’s capital—was assassinated a year previously by a rebel warlock. When Josslyn attends a Queen’s Gala, unexpectedly encountering dark-haired, dark-eyed thief Jericho Nox, his botched attempt to steal a magical artifact inadvertently releases illegal magic into Josslyn. Forced to ally by their mutual objective of removing the magic slowly poisoning Josslyn from within, the pair is locked into a race against time, en route uncovering political secrets about the empire. Tracing Josslyn’s evolution from deeply unlikable socialite to thoughtful protagonist, the rapid-paced plot features an intriguing romance, fueled by generous doses of amusingly antagonistic dialogue. Though the landscape—a fusion of modern technology, pseudo-historical high society, and magic—can feel haphazardly built, a straightforward and compelling first-person prose style ensures narrative cohesion. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Jan.)