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by Melissa Marr

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2023
ISBN: 978-0-525-51855-6
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

A uniquely talented seafaring girl steps up to save those she loves.

Ottilie Jo Maul, better known as Otter, has grown up aboard her fathers’ ship, the HMS Tempest, the only boat licensed to seek out dragons. Otter uses her gift of telepathically sensing the presence of dragons to gather their shed skin for the queen and protect the secret of the dragons’ existence. Meanwhile, Sofia finds herself uniquely positioned to demand the queen halt the use of the “relocation ships” responsible for the losses of many parents and children. When the Tempest becomes dangerously damaged, London, a stowaway-turned-friend, tells Otter of a place called the Netherwhere, where they may find the help their sinking ship needs along with the answers to other mysteries. While the plot is at times unclear, with too many different threads and subjects, an array of both common and more unusual fantastical creatures and a cheeky, lovable main character, supported by a close-knit family, will please readers. However, though chapters are brief and action is plentiful, frequent perspective changes are somewhat distracting, and separate storylines take too long to weave together. While this title is not billed as a sequel or part of a series, background knowledge of the Netherwhere and inhabitants would provide illuminating depth for readers. Though Otter is described as having multihued hair, physical descriptions of most characters are limited, implying a White default.

A warm, loving family and the lure of dragon secrets boost a somewhat muddled portal fantasy.

(Fantasy. 10-14)