The lives of three disparate young people collide in this post-apocalyptic fantasy.
Eighteen-year-old Mari should succeed her mother as the healer of the matriarchal Earth Walkers but for her father’s blood that also courses through her veins, a secret that the blonde, pale-skinned girl and her dark-skinned mother go to great lengths to conceal. Twenty-three-year-old blond, pale-skinned Nik, who hails from a rival people known for enslaving Mari’s, should become Sun Priest of the Tribe when his father retires, but he has yet to be chosen as a Companion by a canine. Dead Eye, a 21-year-old mutant Skin Stealer, is a rebel, a self-proclaimed God with gruesome vision for the future of his people. In this series kickoff, Cast weaves together the stories of Mari, Nik, and Dead Eye, offering readers a new fantasy world steeped in magic that’s grounded by a hodgepodge of tropes ranging from Greek mythology to New Age mysticism. The intersection of Mari’s and Nik’s stories dominates the hefty novel. Readers will enjoy watching these two characters, who share a palpable chemistry, come into their own. Dead Eye’s story is far more disturbing, portending a darkness that will become more prevalent in future installments. While Cast is a bit heavy-handed spelling it out for readers, at its core this is a story about embracing and finding strength in difference. Though skin is vital to the story, modern racial categories do not seem to exist.
Cast’s fans should find much to be pleased with in this new venture. (Fantasy. 14 & up)