Two princesses conquer self-doubt and learn to trust in each other in order to save their people and the only way of life they know.
Princesses Seika and Ji-Lin, twin daughters of Emperor Yu-Senbi of Himitsu, have been best friends since birth. However, when they turn 11, first-born Seika remains at the palace to be groomed as heir apparent, and Ji-Lin is sent to the Temple of the Sun to train to become an imperial guard and her sister’s protector. While Jin-Li learns to wield a sword and mount her winged-lion companion, Seika is taught how to follow rituals. Much to their surprise, Seika and Ji-Lin are sent on the Emperor’s Journey on their 12th birthday. Per tradition, the Emperor’s heir from every generation journeys to the volcanic island of Kazan to renew the bargain with the dragon of Himitsu, who maintains the magical barrier protecting the Hundred Islands of Himitsu. Seika and Ji-Lin soon realize the barrier is failing. When they finally reach their destination and learn tradition has been upended, Seika and Ji-Lin must trust their gut instincts and define for themselves what it means to be a hero. Durst’s attempts to create an Asian-inflected fantasy world are a little contrived, but her imaginative, fast-paced adventure story will keep readers turning the pages.
An enjoyable coming-of-age fantasy-adventure that also showcases the deep bond between sisters. (Fantasy. 10-14)