The queen is dying, a strange menace lures townspeople to places unknown, and Princess Jeniah’s only hope for saving her monarchy lies in the one place prophesied to bring about its destruction.
In Emberfell, where perpetual happiness reigns, Jeniah and Aon, a commoner, feel like outsiders because they alone seem to know sorrow and fear. Bound together by the grief of parental loss, the two protagonists vow to uncover the secret behind Aon’s mother’s strange disappearance and how it relates to the foreshadowed downfall of the monarchy’s seemingly blissful 1,000-year rule. The mysterious Dreadwillow Carse, the only place in the kingdom plagued by sadness, appears to hold the answers to both. In his latest fantasy novel, Farrey (The Grimjinx Rebellion, 2015, etc.) weaves a captivating and suspenseful tale of the power of female friendship and the pain of growing up. His masterful crafting of Jeniah’s character pierces the pampered-princess stereotype, gifting readers with an intricate portrayal of a frightened yet tenacious dark-skinned girl for whom impending responsibility for an entire kingdom hardly feels like a fairy tale. True leadership, like responsible adulthood, means living with the pressure to do what is right tinged with the constant fear of failure. As they uncover the horrifying secrets of the Carse, Jeniah and Aon learn that a life well-lived includes sorrow as well as joy.
Heart-rending and genuine, this magical coming-of-age story is not to be missed. (Fantasy 10-14)