In this provocative fantasy, two young women tackle themes of power, privilege, and politics when they switch identities to pursue their dreams. Noble-born Emilie des Marais, 16, wants to become a physician, a role usually forbidden women of her class because of the corruptive toll the magical “noonday arts” exact. Common-born Annette Boucher wants to escape her domineering parents and master the less physically costly “midnight arts” of illusions, divination, and scrying, normally reserved for those who can afford the expensive education. At Emilie’s urging, each girl takes the other’s place. Their homeland, Demeine, is on the brink of war with a neighboring land as its king seeks to distract the populace from growing unrest surrounding the systematic exploitation of lesser magical talents, known as hacks, who take the brunt of magic for privileged clients, and both young women are pulled into the escalating conflict. Miller (Ruin of Stars) writes in lush, dense prose that can require a careful read, but her protagonists’ awareness of privilege and desire to challenge the status quo shines through. LGBTQ representation—including gay, trans, and nonbinary characters (Annette identifies as asexual biromantic)—further widens this tale’s appeal. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rachel Brooks, BookEnds Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/26/2019 Release date: 02/01/2020 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.