Ruinsong

Julia Ember. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-31335-7
In this queer fantasy retelling of The Phantom of the Opera from Ember (the Seafarer Duology), Bordea comprises three classes: nobles; mages, who wield magic through song; and commoners. Eight years ago, Elene—an ambitious corporeal mage, whose vocalizations affect living things and organic matter—grew tired of second-class citizenship and slaughtered her way onto the throne. Now, as a continuing show of power, she summons the surviving nobility to annual Performings, where her principal—a subordinate corporeal mage—sings a torturous tune. When Remi de Bordealan, 16, attends the event in her ailing mother’s stead, she is appalled to discover the queen’s new chantrix is her childhood friend, orphan Cadence. Remi confronts Cadence, who insists that things would be worse for everyone if she refused Elene’s orders. The further Elene pushes Cadence, however, the more persuasive Cadence finds Remi’s argument for rebellion. Anguish and dread suffuse every page of this harrowing tale, which is told in alternating first-person narratives. An extended setup slows the start, and Ember rushes the conclusion, but the predominantly white cast feels fully fleshed out, and a romantic subplot exploring the girls’ mutual attraction adds warmth and emotional complexity. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/08/2020
Release date: 11/24/2020
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-250-80267-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-6620-5300-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-6620-4959-0
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