cover image The City in the Lake

The City in the Lake

Rachel Neumeier, . . Knopf, $15.99 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84704-2

Neumeier weaves an elaborate, albeit slow, tale of magic, legitimacy and love. The Kingdom is in great despair after Prince Cassiel mysteriously disappears. When the King also goes missing, the Queen accuses Cassiel's half-brother and the King's illegitimate son, Lord Neill, of kidnapping them to gain the throne. Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, Timou's father, a gifted mage, journeys to the City (“I think it is with the heart of the Kingdom that this trouble lies,” he tells Timou. “I think perhaps the heart has been... lost”). When he doesn't return, Timou, who has unique magical abilities, leaves her new lover, and sets out to find her father. Instead she meets her half-brother and learns the terrible truth about her sorceress mother and the power of the City in the Lake. Neumeier creates explosive and dynamic female characters, but unfortunately, some story details are not clear. A slow pace and repetitive lyrical language also make it difficult to follow the complex plot. Ages 12–up. (July)