Bonds of Brass

Del Rey. (Bloodright Trilogy: Bk. 1). Apr. 2020. 320p. Tr $27. ISBN 9780593128893.
Gr 9 Up–How much would you sacrifice for love? Umber Imperial Academy cadet Ettain Nassun has spent the past seven years putting his life back together after his homeland was destroyed. Now the only thing that truly matters is his friendship with his roommate, the frustratingly enticing Gal Veres. So when their fellow classmates stage a coup and attempt to assassinate Gal—the secret heir to the Umber Empire—Ettain makes a life-altering decision. The first in an adult/YA crossover trilogy, this book is a departure for Skrutskie, who typically writes kick-butt female leads. But fans will recognize her signature sci-fi world-building and find much to love in Wen, a “junker princess” living on the street, whose story gets tangled up in Ettain’s and Gal’s. And a twist ending, slyly hinted at throughout the story in M. Night Shyamalan-esque fashion, will take even the most clever readers by surprise. Main characters appear to be people of color, though very few descriptors are given—Ettain’s skin is “several shades darker” than that of his fellow Archon classmates, while Gal is described as “golden.”
VERDICT A Rhoda Belleza-style space opera meets a devastating queer romance à la Adam Silvera. Recommended.

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