Realm Breaker

HarperTeen. May 2021. 576p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062872623. POP.
Gr 9 Up–Corayne an-Amarat is a pirate’s daughter eager to embark on her own adventures at sea in Allward. But she is also the last of the ancient Cor bloodline and the only one who can use the ancient spindleblade to protect her realm and make sure the Spindles that can open destabilizing passages between realms are closed. Reluctant to embrace this lineage, Corayne joins weary immortal Dom as he attempts to mount a second quest to succeed where the first failed in closing the Spindles. Aided by a mercenary assassin and Andry, a squire and the only mortal to survive the first quest, the group faces numerous obstacles leading to fights, chases, and other derring-do. Aveyard follows up her blockbuster “Red Queen” series with this high fantasy that holds space for women and offers an inclusive cast. The realm of Allward features people with a range of skin tones and backgrounds—Andry is described as “honey brown” while Corayne has “golden skin.” Shifting viewpoints, flashbacks, and changing locations cut through much of the novel’s potential urgency as the narrative pauses continuously to ruminate on the failed quest seen in the prologue and offer character backstories.
VERDICT Aveyard creates a compelling world in this series starter. Recommended where the author’s previous books are popular.

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