Larson (the Defy trilogy) deftly weaves fantasy with the best parts of the Swan Lake ballet in this gripping first book of a duology. The kingdoms of the Éadrolan and the Dorjhalon have been engaged in a bitter war for 10 years, costing thousands of lives. Queen Ilaria now leads the forces of the Light, much to the dismay of her daughter, Evelayn. After Evelayn ascends to Éadrolan’s throne unexpectedly early, following her mother’s death, Evelayn grapples with learning how to control her newfound powers and how to be an effective wartime ruler. One of the powers inherent to royals is the ability to assume animal form, something Evelayn struggles with throughout, and her attempts to balance her personal and professional lives is mirrored in the give and take between the Éadrolan and Dorjhalon. Larson is especially effective in her portrait of Evelayn’s need to summon maturity before she thought she would have to, a sweetly innocent romance underscores the bite of betrayal, and the cliffhanger ending will easily build anticipation for the second book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/27/2017 Release date: 05/30/2017 Genre: Children's
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