Cast in Firelight

Delacorte. Nov. 2020. 448p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593124215.
Gr 7 Up–Debut author Swift has created an exciting and romantic fantasy featuring witches and wizards set in a richly detailed South Asian world, where magic is bestowed upon people by nine Deities. It’s a land governed by those with the Touch, who can cast up to nine colors (fortes) of magic, and the Untouched, who have no magic. Princess Adraa has been betrothed to the neighboring country’s Prince Jatin since she was eight. She hasn’t seen him since a disastrous meeting nine years ago. He’s returning from his wizard studies and they’re expected to marry upon Adraa’s upcoming 18th birthday. Adraa assumes Jatin will be as arrogant now as he was as a child. He could cast magic using all nine colors when he was young, but aside from her forte for fire, Adraa believes she’s not as skilled. She’s not Touched on both arms like most others and is ashamed of being different. Adraa’s determined to stop a gang from distributing an addictive drug throughout her country and in finding out where the magic-fueled firelight she invented for her city is being diverted. As Adraa and Jatin alternate points-of-view, readers discover they are keeping secrets not only from each other, but from their families as well.
VERDICT A satisfying romantic fantasy with a badass heroine and memorable setting. Readers of this first book in a duology will relish knowing tantalizing secrets before the characters do. Recommend to fans of Susan Dennard and Roshani Chokshi.

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