cover image Reign the Earth

Reign the Earth

A.C. Gaughen. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-68119-111-9

In a series opener with depth, powerful people called Elementae can control earth, fire, air, and water but are persecuted by an egotistical and cruel king who seeks to eradicate their abilities. Seventeen-year-old Shalia is newly wedded to that king, Calix, in order to forge peace between her desert people and the Bone Lands that Calix rules. As Calix’s controlling nature is revealed, Shalia’s hopes for a happy marriage evaporate, she realizes that she’s an earth Elemanta (something she must keep secret), and she feels undeniable sparks for Calix’s brother, Galen. Shalia’s first-person narration keeps readers close to her growing horror at her husband’s genocidal tendencies and her own determination to do the right thing, even at great risk to herself, in a turbulent world of political and social turmoil. Gaughen (the Scarlet series) delivers an emotionally resonant tale full of magic so powerful it can move the earth; rich writing and worldbuilding will appeal to readers seeking complex characters, palace intrigue, and weighty questions of power and loyalty. Ages 14–up. Agent: Minju Chang, Bookstop Literary. (Jan.)