cover image Soulswift


Megan Bannen. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-267418-0

Ten years ago, the Order of Saint Ovin took Gelya from her “uncivilized” home and delivered her to the Saint Vinnica convent for indoctrination into patriarchal Ovinism. Now, the pale, freckled teen sings the One True God’s word to the masses. Gelya believes that she’s on the side of good, until she sees an Ovinist knight orchestrate a massacre to contain a heretical secret: the spirit of Ovinism’s devil figure, Elath, is imprisoned on convent grounds. Gelya escapes the carnage thanks to brown-skinned enemy soldier Tavik, whose people believe that Elath is actually their mother goddess. When Tavik’s attempt to liberate Elath results in the entity possessing Gelya, the pair runs, hoping to evade capture long enough to return Elath to her own body—an act which Tavik asserts will heal the world, but Ovinists claim will end it. After a worldbuilding-heavy start, Bannen (The Bird and the Blade) hurls readers headlong into a harrowing yet ultimately hopeful fantasy rife with action and intrigue. The duo’s witty banter and burgeoning romance temper the tale’s weightier moments, which include ruminations on religion, doubt, and bodily autonomy. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. (Nov.) [/em]