The comfort-food plot moves quickly as Waithman follows Lucas’s adventures and the boy gradually discovers his lineage and destiny. It’s all told with vigor and engaging characterization, especially once Lucas joins a royal circus in the hopes it will bring him closer to King Itan. When word of Lucas’s skills reaches Itan, the king wonders if he could be either an elite born—a boy of noble blood trained to serve in the king’s guard—or a chosen one, a commoner with exceptional skills to fight in the king’s army. But before Itan can test Lucas, the boy is swept away, continually chased and threatened by the men in black.
Waithman crafts a solemn, engaging tale of a naïve and inquisitive boy who grows into a strong and capable young man. Despite the familiar setting and plot, lovers of classic high fantasy YA storytelling will eagerly follow the precocious and likable Lucas as he staunchly pushes through the many plot twists, betrayals, to face his mysterious past and claim his destiny with King Itan.
Takeaway: Likable characters and a spirit of adventure enliven this traditional fantasy
Great for fans of: Taran Matharu’s The Inquisition, Sara Holland’s Everless.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A