Young adult readers will be drawn to Mirana as she fights to find her place in “war, the endless cycle of hate” threatening her people. Her journey to understand and believe in the source of her own power is painful at times, yet often moving, and she rebels against trusting herself, as in her own words—“using the Power from Without isn’t a selfless giving of one’s life force from within the Aspects, it is taking.” Also compelling is Teague’s conviction that “my anger and grief are all I have left” as well as his desperation to be able to physically fight his enemies.
Donnelly includes a glossary of relevant terminology that, while helpful, can also overwhelm, as it charts suffixes and linguistic matters. However, that dedication to invented languages, and the maps and appendices, invite readers to delve as deeper into Kinderra as they care to; fantasy fans especially will be pleased with the convincing world that Donnelly has taken such pains to build. Naturally, this vivid voyage into a well-established realm and its ongoing battle between Light and Dark builds to cliffhanger— and exemplifies its genre.
Takeaway: Young adult and fantasy readers will relish this world of magic and war, with characters facing grief and self-doubt.
Great for fans of: Cinda Williams Chima’s The Warrior Heir, Megan Bannen’s Soulswift.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A