cover image The Queen of Blood

The Queen of Blood

Sarah Beth Durst. Voyager, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-241334-5

Mythopoeic Award–winner Durst (Chasing Power) launches her Queens of Renthia series with a stellar and imaginative tale. In the fantasy world of Renthia, spirits—tangible magical beings associated with the four elements—would destroy all humans if it weren’t for the queen, a powerful chosen ruler who can control them. When a group of spirits destroys an outlying village, young Daleina chases them off and discovers that she has the power to potentially be a queen one day. After training for years at the academy, she comes under the tutelage of Ven, a disgraced champion (and former lover) of the current queen, Fara, and they work to make Daleina stronger as it becomes more apparent that Fara might be losing control of the spirits. Durst ably dispenses with tropes of the genre, zooming through the standard “young magician at the academy” plot to focus on Daleina’s growth as both a person and a potential queen. In addition to a solid cast of characters and great political intrigue, Durst delivers some fascinating worldbuilding, and the spirits are malevolent, cunning, wild, and mysterious antagonists. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger. (Sept.)