A twin raised as a body double for her famous sister is sent on her first solo mission.
Sisters Rafi and Frey live under the shadow of their powerful father, leader of the city of Shreve. Rafi was raised in the public eye as a diplomat, attending parties and currying favor. Frey is a secret, enduring brutal training to ward off would-be assassins and taking her sister’s place when a setting is deemed too dangerous. But when their father strikes a business deal with the first family of a neighboring city, there’s a twist: The Palafoxes want Rafi as collateral to ensure there’s no funny business. Sent there instead, Frey’s world is turned upside down as she gets her first taste of freedom in a new city and quickly befriends Col, the Palafox heir—but her own duplicity turns out to be no match for those around her. In a setting that seems like a parallel Europe, the Palafoxes speak Spanish, and race is not explicitly defined. One character uses “they/them” pronouns. Intricately choreographed action sequences abound; Frey’s unplanned adventure moves like a swift game of chess, but the fireworks take precedence over Frey and Col’s relationship, and they read more as pawns in war games than fully realized people. Although set in the world of Uglies (2005), this work is accessible as an entry point.
Impressive, immaculately plotted sci fi chock full of twists but lacking heart. (Science fiction. 12-18)