Worlds collide as two teens fight for their lives.
Nolan Santiago isn’t your average teenager. When he closes his eyes, he finds himself in another world, seeing life through the eyes of the mute servant Amara. Amara serves and protects the cursed Alinean princess Cilla, who struggles to stay alive in order to reclaim her family’s rule over the Dunelands. Back in Arizona, Nolan lives his life as a disabled epileptic, trying to shield his parents from the horrors of his dual existence as the costs of expensive pharmaceuticals and medical specialists overwhelm family finances. With each blink of his eyes, Nolan re-emerges into Amara’s harsh but magical reality, where almost every moment is fraught with brutality and betrayal. As Amara’s journey with Cilla leads her toward the capital, she and Nolan must recognize how each controls the other’s fate in ways neither of them thought possible. Duyvis smoothly transitions between the two main characters’ thoughts and emotions while realistically conveying the individual alienation and terror of two very different people. Rich worldbuilding, convincing nonheteronormative relationships, balanced class issues, and nuanced, ethnically diverse characters add to the novel’s depth. The well-paced action builds toward an unexpected, thrilling conclusion that will leave readers eager for more from this promising new author.
Original and compelling; a stunning debut. (Fantasy. 14 & up)