cover image Scorpica


G.R. Macallister. Saga, $26 (448p) ISBN 978-1-982167-89-9

The people of the Five Queendoms lose the ability to produce girls in this refreshing epic fantasy from Macallister (The Arctic Fury). No one knows the cause of this so-called Drought of Girls, but it is devastating for the matriarchal societies. Of the queendoms, the Amazon-like Scorpicans depend the most on their ability to produce daughters, and as their nation dwindles, unrest grows in their ranks. The magical Arcans, meanwhile, hunt for an all-magic-girl who can inherit the throne of the Daybreak Palace. Record-keeping Bastion, agrarian Sestia, and trade-hub Paxim do not have such specific needs, but are ruled by women nonetheless and depend on daughters for heirs. As the Drought stretches on for a decade, the long-standing peace between countries teeters in the balance. Macallister twines the stories of women from each of these societies as they struggle with loss and search for solutions. She does a good job keeping each perspective as exciting as the last. The page-turning plot and intricate worldbuilding makes this a must-read for fans of Game of Thrones and Priory of the Orange Tree. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Mar.)