FICTION

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying

Puffin Canada. Aug. 2019. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780735265356.
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Gr 4-6–Rowan and Rhydd were born to greatness; as twin siblings of the queen and a monster hunter, their roles in the kingdom were determined at birth. Because Rowan is the firstborn she must be Queen, while her brother Rhydd trains to become the Royal Monster Hunter with their aunt Janna—roles they would very much like to be reversed. When Rowan sneaks out to help her brother hunt a gryphon, the very same monster that killed her father, she witnesses her beloved aunt’s gruesome death by the creature. But, before she dies, Janna grants her a gift: a way to override the rule that forces Rowan and Rhydd into their traditional roles. Rhydd severely injured his leg in the fight, and his current limited mobility allows them to switch places. When an ambitious relative tries to muck up the plans and send Rowan on a path that can only end in her death, she surprises everyone with her bravery and her wit. Duty and the responsibility that accompanies it are explored through Rowan and Rhydd’s journey; sometimes it is harder to do the thing that comes easiest to you. Thrilling action scenes are balanced with emotionally resonant moments showcasing Rowan and Rhydd’s close relationship and Rowan building tentative new friendships with the unlikely companions she meets on her quest.
VERDICT Give this to any fantasy and adventure fan ready for a fast and fun read, a great read-a-like for Tamora Pierce’s “Tortall” series

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