The Bear House (The Bear House #1)

Meaghan McIsaac. Holiday House, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4660-5
McIsaac’s (Movers) dark fantasy series starter ambitiously weaves intrigue and adventure against a complicated backdrop of constellation-inspired myth. The northern kingdoms, collectively known as the Bear Highen, have always been ruled by the House of the Hemoth Bear. Spoiled Aster Lourdes, 13, dreams of following in her father’s footsteps as its sovereign, but everyone expects her imperious older sister Ursula, 16, to be chosen. When their uncle Bram betrays the family in an unthinkable coup, the sisters must flee the kingdom, along with bear keeper Dev, 13, and young grizzly Alcor, “the living symbol of the Bear House.” To prevent the Bear Highen from falling to tyranny and blasphemy, the unlikely companions must survive in the wild, outwit their pursuers, and rally the heirs to several other kingdoms. Hot-tempered and insecure, the flawed, cued-white protagonists slowly prove themselves as they’re pushed to their limits in a well-depicted journey of maturity. Dense worldbuilding bogs things down early on, but multiple perspectives enable the story to play out from different angles, contributing to an epic, complex narrative. Ages 10–14. Agent: Alison McDonald, the Rights Factory. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/29/2021
Release date: 09/14/2021
Genre: Children's
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