The Bright & the Pale

Jessica Rubinkowski. Quill Tree, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-287150-3
Ten years ago, Valeria, now 17, was one of the few survivors of a curse that trapped her mining town in perpetual ice. Ever since, she’s worked for the Thieves Guild, hiding from the forces of the Czar, who blame Valeria’s people both for the curse and for the resultant loss of access to the country’s prime resource, precious lovite ore, which, when combined with iron, creates an unbreakable alloy for use in weaponry, construction, and defense. Then Valeria is recruited by Ivan, an enigmatic soldier who believes she can help him access the lost vaults of lovite deep within the mountain of Knnot. In exchange, he reunites Valeria with her best friend Alik, long thought dead. But as Valeria joins Ivan, Alik, and others on a perilous journey into the frozen north and into a haunted mountain, she realizes they may be pawns of the feuding Bright and Pale Gods, siblings whose irreconcilable desires—bringing light and warmth to the world vs. consuming pain and suffering—have disrupted the course of mortal history with intermittent bloody wars. Despite a solid romantic thread and the looming influence of the supernatural, this adventure’s leisurely pacing and soap opera–style drama may frustrate. Drawing inspiration from Russian folklore, Rubinkowski offers an atmospheric fantasy debut populated by engaging characters and fueled by a strong premise, with a cliffhanger setting up events for the sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Landis, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/09/2021
Release date: 03/02/2021
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-287154-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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