A princess struggles to cope with newfound powers in DeStefano’s most recent venture.
Fifteen-year-old Wil, the white fourth child and only daughter of Arrod’s royal family, has always known her place within her family. As the final spare in her family’s lineage, she knows she doesn’t serve a great purpose for her family—unlike Owen, the heir, or Gerdie, the sickly alchemist/inventor. But everything changes for Wil when, in a moment of self-defense, she discovers a power she didn’t know she had: with any adrenaline rush, she’s able, with a Midas-like touch, to fatally turn any living thing into a gemstone. Realizing that she, like Gerdie, could become a pawn in her power-hungry father’s war games, she keeps her powers a secret—until she accidentally kills one of her brothers in front of their father and is promptly banished. But soon she’s kidnapped by a pair of rebels, including the enemy kingdom’s banished prince Loom, and they rope her into their assassination plot, while brown-skinned Loom worms his way into her heart. While the finale clearly leads to a sequel, uneven pacing and a distant third-person narration make investment in these fairly generic characters difficult. A choppy mix of fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk (curses and “paralysis bullets,” newfangled “electric carriages” and solar panels, dirigibles and “data goggles”) leaves the worldbuilding hazy, while classic themes of monstrosity and humanity, science versus magic go underexplored.
Only for those with spare funds or spare time. (Fantasy. 12-18)