FICTION

Given

Wattpad. Jan. 2020. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781989365045.
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Gr 9 Up–In her debut novel, Taylor builds a vibrant, fantastical world where characters grapple with themes like free will, forbidden love, and family obligation. Yenni Ajani is a confident young woman who has always defied expectations, and does so again when she sets off alone on a quest to find a cure for her father’s mysterious illness. She arrives in Cresh, a land that practices magic unlike her own, and sets to her task only to find herself distracted by a dragon who insists that their destinies are intertwined. This book changes up conventional fantasy storytelling by bringing a Harry Potter–esque world of stone buildings and muttered spells in contact with characters like Yenni, who have their own separate mythologies and powers. Readers will appreciate the evolution of characters as they confront issues like colonization and sexual consent; however, some character shifts are perhaps a little too convenient to feel entirely earned.
VERDICT An absorbing story with a strong female lead. Recommended for fans of fantasy and romance centered around cultural exchange and conflict.

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