The Empire of Dreams

Rae Carson. Greenwillow, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-269190-3
Picking up nearly eight years after the events of Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, this standalone companion follows 17-year-old imperial ward Lady Red Sparkle Stone, a foundling rescued from enslavement in the original trilogy by Elisa, now reigning Empress of Joya. Empress Elisa and Prince Consort Hector have petitioned the imperial court to adopt Red; when the request is denied, to the royal family’s shock, it soon becomes clear that mutinous forces are at play. While the rest of the family retreats, Red and the royal heir stay to root out those who seek to move against the royal family. To protect and redeem herself after damaging rumors spread, Red joins the Royal Guard as the first successful female recruit, where she forges tenuous friendships with fellow first-year trainees as unidentified players seek to oust the progressive Empress Elisa from power. Alternating chapters ground readers in the years leading up to Red’s liberation, contextualizing previously established relationships and Red’s traumatic past. Exhibiting clear signs of PTSD and carefully honed survival skills, Red is a realistically complex heroine, and her journey to belonging and healing feels genuinely depicted. Positive platonic relationships with secondary characters, most notably the men in Red’s family and her fellow recruits, are rendered with nuance and care. Ages 13–up. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/20/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-269192-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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