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TEMPER by Nicky Drayden


by Nicky Drayden

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-249305-7
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Drayden (The Prey of Gods, 2017) follows twin brothers struggling with destiny in a fantastical Africa.

In this world, nearly all children are twins, and all twins are designated one greater and one lesser via a ceremony that discerns which child has more of the seven virtues and fewer vices. A four-three split is common, five-two not unknown…but Auben has six vices and his brother, Kasim, only one. Their futures are as plain as the vice-marks on their skin—Kasim is destined for prosperity while Auben won’t leave the ghetto of their birth. Refusing to accept this, Auben prays to Grace, the god of virtues. But it’s Grace’s dark opposite, Icy Blue, who answers him—and possesses him. Icy Blue brings Auben strange powers—healing and shape-shifting—but also temptations much darker than mere vice-driven mischief. When Kasim is also possessed (by Grace), the two brothers determine to learn how to conduct an exorcism by enrolling at an exclusive religious academy. Once there, Kasim catches the high priest’s eye and rises in popularity, leading Auben to feel abandoned, alone with Icy Blue. The twists and revelations come at breakneck speed, leaving both characters' and readers' heads spinning. Auben must discover harsh familial truths to right a cosmic wrong if he’s to save himself, Kasim, and everyone else.

Wildly imaginative worldbuilding mixes with a convoluted plot and sharp changes in tone for a strange brew.