Plot: Donnelly's YA novel is set in a strikingly well-conceived fantasy world. Gifted--or cursed--with a trifecta of powers, Mirana Pinal is one of a select few tasked with an enormous moral responsibility. Readers will become fully immersed in Mirana's narrative as she struggles to come to terms with her potential for restoration or destruction.
Prose: Donnelly excels at crafting a seamless narrative that conveys the unique parameters of the universe at-hand through dialogue, character introspection, and balanced exposition. Descriptions are lyrical, vivid, and nicely polished.
Originality: Stories of exceptional teens are frequent, but Donnelly's convincing worldbuilding elevates the somewhat conventional underpinnings of the premise.
Character/Execution: Mirana's behavior, thought processes, and motivations are clear and authentic. Villainous characters and allies are portrayed with nuance and dimension, while the world of Kinderra emerges as an engrossing character in its own right.
Date Submitted: August 18, 2020
Donnelly has set her story in a classic medieval Europe-flavored fantasy world, complete with armies on horses, ancient prophecies, and an extensive dramatis personae. Although the author makes some moves to differentiate her work from other stories in the genre—for instance, by substituting common English terms with Kinderrian ones—some readers may find the net result is more distracting than illustrative.
But Mirana is a sympathetic heroine, her struggle to find her place in the world will be relatable to young readers, and her romance with Teague captures the tensions and thrills of teenage love. Polished prose, strong characterization, and the author’s keen eye for atmospheric detail keep this coming-of-age story engrossing.
Takeaway: Young adult readers will be swept up in a gripping fantasy adventure with a main character they can root for.
Great for fans of: Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: C