cover image Asperfell


Jamie Thomas. Uproar, $18.50 trade paper (420p) ISBN 978-1-949671-07-0

The wonderfully inventive first installment in Thomas’s debut trilogy winningly combines the comedy of manners found in Regency romances with the high spirits of magical school adventure fantasies. The new king of Tiralaen is hell-bent on culling mages from the population. Briony, an appealingly willful nobleman’s daughter, travels through the one-way gate into Asperfell, an otherworld prison for mages, to free the king’s brother, Prince Elyan, in hopes of saving the kingdom’s magic. In the two-tiered wizarding community of Asperfell, genteel mages are free to wander the grounds while those considered dangerous languish in a dungeon. When Briony meets Elyan, she discovers a rare magical aptitude that may be the key to unraveling the prison world’s mysteries and freeing them both to return home. The charming characters, understated romance that simmers between Briony and Elyan, and easily graspable politics are all well-rendered, but the true star here is the strange, mystical setting of Asperfell. This promising adventure has crossover YA appeal and is sure to win over fantasy readers. (Feb.)