cover image A Thousand Recipes for Revenge

A Thousand Recipes for Revenge

Beth Cato. 47North, $16.99 trade paper (436p) ISBN 978-1-66251-028-1

Restless gods and culinary magic are on the menu in this uneven fantasy from Cato (the Blood of Earth series). Ada Garland is a Chef, one of the rare few divinely blessed with the coveted ability to “awaken the magical potential in the foods they prepare,” but she’s been in hiding with her grandmother for the past 16 years after deserting Verdania’s royal army. Meanwhile, Ada’s long-lost daughter, 16-year-old Princess Solenn of Braiz, weathers an onslaught of gossip surrounding her impending marriage to Verdania’s Prince Rupert. With the help of her recently awakened Chef’s gift, Solenn uncovers an assassination attempt against her fiancé, but must keep her new ability hidden to avoid scandal. The mother’s and daughter’s story lines feel disjointed for much of the novel, and when their paths do eventually cross their reunion is cut short by the reemergence of an enemy from Ada’s past. Meanwhile, the murder plots targeting Ada and Rupert become much more dangerous after an ancient goddess seeking retribution is thrown into the mix. Though Cato’s magic system is impressive, the dense worldbuilding comes at the expense of plot and characters, which feel comparatively underdeveloped. Readers will enjoy the rich lore, but long for more momentum. Agent: Rebecca Straus, DeFiore & Co. (June)