cover image Divine Rivals

Divine Rivals

Rebecca Ross. Wednesday, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-85743-9

In this affecting fantasy duology opener from Ross (the Elements of Cadence duology), 18-year-old Iris Winnow’s life is upended when long-slumbering gods wake and begin battling for control of the fictional land of Cambria, using human armies as proxies. After Iris’s brother, Forest, enlists to fight, and her mother is fired from her job for drinking while at work, Iris must quit school to help make ends meet. Her new writing position at local newspaper Oath Gazette doesn’t pay much, prompting Iris to campaign for a promotion. That won’t be easy, however, given the talent and connections of her 19-year-old rival, Roman Kitt. At night, Iris writes to Forest using an old typewriter and, since he has no mailing address, slips the letters under her wardrobe door, after which they mysteriously disappear. Iris hopes that Forest is somehow receiving her correspondence, but in truth, Roman is. Moved by her words, Roman responds under a pseudonym, triggering a chain of life-altering events. Ross elevates predictable plotting with inventive worldbuilding, nuanced characterizations, and prose by turns dreamy and atmospherically tense. The result is an ardent romance and a harrowing exploration of war’s horrors and heartbreaks. The protagonists cue as white. Ages 13–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Apr.)