Random. Jan. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593119174.
Gr 7 Up–Imelda, Adrian, and Pippa are all racers, but unlike regular jockeys they ride Phoenix Horses, mystical steeds that die each night and are reborn at dawn. Imelda enters the race as the poor scholarship student from a downtrodden minority, but will she play to win or to break the games? Adrian is the son of a rebel leader, aiming to win and become the face of a revolution. Pippa is the daughter of two past champions; she has trained all her life to win, but will romance be her downfall? The world in this novel is unlike other fantasy realms and depicts a complex history of battles, political stratification, and gods. Imelda, Adrian, and Pippa all have complete character arcs, a difficult feat with three narrators. The only thing that mars this fantasy is the bizarre choice to have Pippa’s narrative written in the second person, which is very distracting at first. Many of the book’s tropes suggest a future dystopia with the in-depth cultural history of war and strife, and a competition where the dominant group has an unfair advantage in both the game and the social system as a whole.
VERDICT An exciting action tale set in a unique world. Hand this book to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

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