cover image Chaos & Flame (Chaos & Flame #1)

Chaos & Flame (Chaos & Flame #1)

Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland. Razorbill, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-35332-5

Gratton (Moon Dark Smile) and Ireland (Rust in the Root) team up to deliver a gripping fantasy about betrayal, forgiveness, loss, and loyalty amid a magical war. Seventeen-year-old Darling Seabreak cannot remember anything about her childhood before being adopted by the regent of House Kraken. She is raised as a mercenary in House Kraken’s war against House Dragon until she is captured by House Dragon’s War Prince, 18-year-old Talon Goldhoard. Unbeknownst to Darling, she has been the subject of a lifetime of murals painted by Talon’s older brother, “Mad Dragon Prince Regent” Caspian Goldhoard. Through these murals, Darling learns that she is the last remaining Sphinx, a member of the house that Talon’s father massacred at the beginning of the war. When Caspian announces his intentions to reinstate the Sphinxes to their former glory on a reparations tour, Darling and Talon cautiously follow, hoping this could be the first step toward a peaceful future. Through standard tropes, familiar worldbuilding, and Darling and Talon’s alternating narratives, the authors gradually employ myriad political and social perspectives that capably flesh out the novel’s compelling war-torn landscape. Characters are described as having varying skin tones. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)