A high fantasy loosely based on “Little Red Riding Hood” and the less well-known “The Girl with No Hands.”
Hoping to save the world, 15-year-old Rachelle defiantly leaves the safe forest path to speak with a forestborn—one of those humans who gained supernatural powers by accepting the Devourer as their lord. The forestborn marks Rachelle: In three days’ time she must either kill and become a bloodbound—destined to become a forestborn—or be killed. Rachelle kills, and the story of the killing is revealed as she grapples with debilitating guilt. Three years later, Rachelle is one of the king’s bloodbound. When she discovers the Devourer will soon return, she redoubles her efforts to find the sword that can defeat him. However, orders to protect the king’s illegitimate son, Armand, impede her search. Predictably, Rachelle falls in love with Armand, causing a love triangle to form between the pair and the rakish Erec, captain of the king’s bloodbound. Though Armand is likable enough, Rachelle’s love feels sudden and unfounded, and thus it’s never entirely convincing. A fairy tale that’s critical to understanding Rachelle’s ultimate task is interspersed throughout, and in a refreshing departure from the norm, the complexity of the conclusion matches the magnitude of the foe faced.
Rachelle’s flaws make her an incredibly sympathetic
character; though her romance is not so compelling, the unusual, intricately
woven story and themes make for a worthwhile read. (Fantasy. 14 & up)