cover image Mazes of Power

Mazes of Power

Juliette Wade. DAW, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1574-7

Wade’s excellent high fantasy debut, the first in the Broken Trust series, invites readers into an intricately constructed and morally ambiguous world full of complex political maneuvering and familial pressure. For centuries, the cavernous city of Pelismara has housed the 12 Great Families that comprise the noble class of the city’s strict caste system, who cling to the glory of a long-faded golden era. When a mysterious illness known as Kinders fever kills the city’s Eminence, the 12 families vie to fill the power vacuum. It’s up to 17-year-old Tagaret to represent his family in the competition to become heir to the throne, but his sociopathic brother Nekantor’s twisted attempts to help their family ascend to power threaten to tear down everything that Tagaret holds dear, including the reputation of the woman he loves. As the fever spreads among the lower classes, Pelismara’s society hangs on by a thread. The impressively winding plot, layered worldbuilding, and psychologically acute characterizations are sure to hold readers’ attention. Wade is an author to watch. (Feb.)