P.M. Freestone. Scholastic, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-338-33544-6
In a land that values perfumes and poisons, a young woman with a knack for scents and a royal bodyguard with a dark secret join forces to heal a poisoned prince. Rakel’s plan to become a master perfumer in order to support her ailing father is derailed when she’s betrayed and pressed into indentured servitude. Bodyguard Ash will do anything to help his friend, Prince Nisai. After Nisai is struck down by an ancient poison, and Rakel and Ash are blamed for the attack, the two set forth to find the necessary components for an antidote, a search that takes them to every corner of their land. Remaining just one step ahead of the authorities, they must solve an intricate riddle in order to succeed—and learn to trust each other along the way. This intrigue-laden fantasy debut gets off to a slow start, and the alternating perspectives aren’t equally developed: Rakel’s struggle and voice are more engaging than those of Ash, who remains something of a cipher until late in the tale, save for his infrequent panic attacks and mysterious affliction. Still, Freestone vividly evokes the feel and sensory details of an imagined desert kingdom, and the narrative’s engaging quest plot sets things up nicely for a sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Caroline Walsh, David Higham Assoc. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/26/2019
Release date: 11/05/2019
Genre: Children's
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-9871-5659-1
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