A warrior receives dangerous magic that she can’t control in this companion to The Impostor Queen (2016).
Although she arrived in her tribe as a raiding prize when she was a child and doesn’t know her roots, Ansa’s heart is fully Krigere. The Krigere plunder as a way of life, and Ansa works eagerly to earn the scars on the arm that denote kill tallies. But during a battle that decimates her tribe, the Kupari witch queen curses Ansa, filling her with fire and ice that pour through her body and flare out into the world. Now, to her horror, Ansa’s killing accidentally. She flames; she freezes; she tries desperately (and in vain) to repress and hide these uncontrollable powers. Textual richness and urgency come from a single fact unknown to Ansa, known only to readers of the earlier book: Ansa’s the rightful queen of Kupari, meant to protect that land with her fire and ice. During an overland journey and time spent in a Krigere-occupied city, there are twists, multiple deceits, and confusing loyalties. Thyra, the Krigere chieftain since her father was killed, is Ansa’s beloved, but what are Thyra’s motivations? Bloody slaughter and Ansa’s struggle to wield and withstand frozen cold and burning flame are evoked with equal vividness. All major characters are white except one, who’s brown-skinned; the text repeatedly and unfortunately describes that character’s curly, black hair as “wild,” and her characterization occasionally treads close to stereotype.
Exciting, with more excitement ahead. (Fantasy. 12-16)