Sixteen-year-old Tarisai of Swana is commanded to kill the one person in the world she’s sworn to love and protect.
Born of a mysterious woman known only as The Lady and her unholy coupling with an ehru (djinn), coily haired, dark-skinned Tarisai is hidden away in the grasslands of her home realm and constantly tested by tutors, preparing her whole life to join the Council of Eleven that will advise the Crown Prince. When she discovers that she was created as a weapon to assassinate that same beloved prince, Tarisai embarks on a journey through the 12 realms of Aritsar to discover the truth about her complicated history, hoping for a chance to shine a light on a new path for herself. Debut author Ifueko’s ethnically and religiously diverse empire is well-built, taking form as it unfurls and blossoms in a way that never feels rushed. This fantasy world—where tutsu sprites roam and people are graced with a never-ending spectrum of Hallows, or birth gifts—provides constant wonder and enchantment and has a tantalizing potential that engages readers. The perfectly paced plot is laid against a backdrop of political unrest and intrigue that explores colonialist and imperialist themes, ensuring its continued relevance. The nuanced experiences of the fantasy communities will resonate with global, contemporary marginalized peoples and their struggles against discrimination.
A fresh, phenomenal fantasy that begs readers to revel in its brilliant world. (Fantasy. 14-18)