Estep (the Mythos Academy series) opens the Black Blade series with an indulgently fun romp full of "lochness" monsters, tree trolls, and housekeeping pixies. Seventeen-year-old Lila Merriweather is a "modern-day Robin Hood," stealing from the wealthy individuals who make their living on the tourist "rubes" eager to see monsters, "magicks," and more in Cloudburst Falls, W. Va. Lila is content to live in the shadows, far from the warring dynasty families who run the town and the memory of her mother's murder. Yet a chance encounter leaves her with no choice but to protect the heir of a prestigious family, the handsome and mysterious Devon Sinclair. Using her hidden talents and street smarts to stay ahead of Devon's attackers, Lila uncovers unpredictable betrayals and a sense of home she never thought possible. Though background details are repetitive, and the romantic scenes between Devon and Lila can be a bit clichéd, fierce Lila, talkative father figure Mo, and honeybeer-swilling pixie Oscar are well worth getting to know. Steeped in gripping action scenes, Estep's novel is a welcome twist on familiar fantasy themes. Ages 14–up. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/27/2015 Release date: 04/28/2015 Genre: Children's
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