cover image Incendiary (Incendiary #1)

Incendiary (Incendiary #1)

Zoraida Córdova. Disney-Hyperion, $18.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-368-02380-1

In this duology opener from Córdova (the Brooklyn Brujas series), King Fernando of Puerto Leones conquers neighboring Memoria and its magically gifted people by kidnapping seven-year-old Renata Convida, a Moria memory thief, and using her to extract tactical knowledge from prisoners. Two years later, Moria rebels dubbed the Whispers rescue Ren and train her as one of their own. Now 17, Ren knows many Whispers think her a traitor for the bloodshed she unwittingly facilitated as a child. Consequently, when she accidentally endangers her boyfriend and unit commander, Dez, during his mission to destroy a weapon that could eradicate the remaining Moria, she flees camp without telling anyone and resolves to save Dez herself—even if doing so means returning to the palace where she was a prisoner. This Spanish Inquisition–inspired fantasy beguiles with evocative prose, organic worldbuilding, and an ethnically diverse cast. Córdova does little to establish Dez and Ren’s romance, diminishing the story’s emotional heft, and the mechanics of the characters’ assorted powers feel murky and convenient, but ample intrigue propels the tale to a gripping close. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. (Apr.) [/em]