cover image Princess of Souls

Princess of Souls

Alexandra Christo. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-84174-2

Teenagers battle a tyrannical, undying king in this starry-eyed, “Rapunzel”–inspired standalone by Christo (the Into the Crooked Place series). Pale-skinned Selestra Somniatis spends most days confined to a tower on Floating Mountain, waiting to replace her mother, Theola, as King Seryth’s witch, a position whose duties include prophesying deaths in the annual Festival of Predictions. Participants must survive three potentially fatal encounters over a fortnight, one of which Theola foretells. Should they perish, their soul will be devoured by Seryth to extend his life. Those who live, however, are granted a wish and given the opportunity to let the king and his army hunt them until month’s end. Seryth will cede his immortality to anyone who bests him—a never-before-achieved feat—but light-brown-skinned soldier Nox Laederic, hoping to avenge his father’s murder, is determined to be the first. When Selestra delivers Nox’s prediction as practice, she intertwines their fates, and the pair are forced to work together or perish. While the plot is predictable, vividly rendered backdrops and plentiful action coupled with Selestra and Nox’s alternating first-person accounts and snarky banter candidly chronicle their heady burgeoning romance. Ages 13–up. Agent: Emmanuelle Morgen, Stonesong. (Oct.)