Putnam. Jun. 2019. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524740030.
Gr 4-6–Beatty’s second title in her fantasy adventure duology finds Only Fallow caught up in palace politics as the king’s Mayquin of Ostral. She and her friend Lark are involuntarily housed in the palace, where Only is expected to use her unique cunning—the ability to “see” lies—to assist the king, and Lark is a servant. With the exception of a map, most of the expected fantasy elements are here: extensive world-building with an established mythology, a large cast of characters, and a slightly eccentric manner of speech (children, for example, are called “whelps”). The day-to-day details are fully imagined, and the young characters feel authentic as children thrust into an unexpected adventure. This is a story about othering; the mistreated Ordish people, of whom Lark is a member, are instantly recognizable due to their physical characteristics. Throughout the text, Only insists that Lark be seen and treated as a person. It is notable that a story in which children are mistreated, taken from their families, and considered a means to an end is written in a way that is appropriate for middle grade readers.
VERDICT Although there is sufficient exposition of prior events, this title is best enjoyed after reading the first book. Recommended for middle grade fantasy collections and where Heartseeker is popular.

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