This YA fantasy series opener finds a prince struggling to master his magical talent as a war between kingdoms looms.
On the world of Amassia, Marcus Adicio is heir to the Throne of Baiseen. The 17-year-old is a “savant” who, like many people, can raise a “phantom” of his subliminal self from the earth. Marcus has an older brother, 19-year-old Petén, but he’s a not a savant, so Marcus is next in line to the throne. But first he must master his formless warrior phantom and test his powers on the Isle of Aku with the High Savant. Accompanying Marcus to Aku is Ash,a non-savant scribe and his best friend; her job is to chronicle the prince’s initiation journey.Joining them is Belair Duquan, a warrior savant from the kingdom of Tangeen. The prognosticating Bone Throwers, who use “whistle bones” to determine which children have the savant potential, warn Marcus that “Surprise comes from the sea.” This refers to Kaylin, a sailor who helps them aboard the Sea Eagle, and disastrous events beyond. According to the Bone Throwers’ prophecy, Marcus must not raise his phantom, which eventually introduces itself as muscular warrior De’ral, until he’s on Aku; his group must also be wary of spies from the hostile realm of Aturnia. Wilder demonstrates early in her layered, surprise-laden fantasy that savants aren’t to be trifled with when Marcus’ father uses his dire wolf phantom to rip the hearts from Aturnian operatives. The medieval and martial arts motifs combine well, while legends of the underwater Mar people add further dimension. The Mar also call into question the fate of the eldest Adicio child, Aaron, whom the Bone Throwers insisted be sacrificed to the sea. Wilder highlights several different characters’ perspectives, and often, sex doesn’t seem far from their minds (“Have you ever known a more divine chap?” Belair asks Ash of Kaylin). For much of the tale, Marcus feels like the protagonist, but a substantial twist subverts this, and it’s only one among several exciting reveals that will shape subsequent volumes.
A dense but polished novel that provides a solid foundation for a new series.
Pub Date: yesterday
Page Count: 420
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Review Posted Online: yesterday