cover image Mystic


Jason Denzel. Tor, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8197-2

Denzel, best known for his founding of a preeminent Robert Jordan fan site, builds a solidly enjoyable debut on the backs of traditional epic fantasy elements. Sixteen-year-old Pomella AnDone is overjoyed when she’s called to compete for the position of apprentice to the newly appointed High Mystic, Yarina Sineese. Normally this honor is granted only to nobles, and failure would mean ostracism and exile from her community. Defying centuries of tradition, Pomella sets forth to prove herself. As she competes in the Trials, where she demonstrates her mastery of the magical Myst, she deals with the scorn of her noble opponents, and her own doubts. Then her longtime friend Sim is captured by mercenaries as part of a sinister plan to disrupt the Trials and seize power. The bildungsroman plot is familiar, but Denzel’s strong worldbuilding and descriptions help to flesh it out, and Pomella’s manipulation of the Myst through song gives the story a poetic feel. This fantasy adventure is clearly inspired by the classics but still finds something new to say. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (Nov.)