Aetherbound

E.K. Johnston. Dutton, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7352-3185-6
A teen flees her emotionally abusive family in this slow-burning, character-driven space opera by Johnston (The Afterward). Since age five, Pendt Harland has been told she’s useless, her magical gene-sense considered a waste of precious calories aboard her blue-eyed, white-skinned family’s generational trading ship, especially compared to more desirable powers, such as the star-sense required of the ship’s captain. As her 18th birthday approaches, Pendt vanishes into the depths of Brannick Station during a stopover, encountering Fisher and Ned Brannick, the twin brothers who run the station. To legally escape her family’s clutches and aid the brothers with their own plans, she marries Ned, who soon joins the rebellion against the oppressive Stavenger Empire; she then grows closer to Fisher while building a life for herself. When her family returns, though, Pendt must use her powers to engineer an unorthodox, extremely dangerous solution. Johnston packs a lot of galaxy-spanning worldbuilding into a small space. Though some threads, especially surrounding the rebellion, feel underdeveloped, character elements—particularly Pendt’s recovery from a lifetime of abuse—offer an affirmative arc about emotional healing and personal growth in the wake of trauma. Ages 14–up. Author’s agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/18/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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