Song of the Abyss

HMH. (Tower of Winds: Bk. 2). Aug. 2019. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544968585.
Gr 7 Up–When apprentice mapmaker Reyna discovers that her ship has been boarded by mysterious pirates, she escapes into the water. Helped by Prince Levi of Lunes, Reyna discovers that her ship has been recovered, but the sailors are gone. Soon, more ships turn up empty. As the only eyewitness to the strange raiders, Reyna sets out with Levi to uncover the mystery. The plot moves at a fast clip with staccato sentence structure and restrained description that lets readers fill in the details of the places and peoples Reyna encounters. In the tradition of Tamora Pierce, Lucier represents a global diversity of cultures. Reyna’s Portuguese-inflected homeland and Levi’s Jewish kingdom are not too distant (geographically and linguistically) from Miramar, which borrows from the Chinese Qin dynasty’s funeral rites and Japanese Meiji imperial iconography. The result is a diverse cast and a swashbuckling adventure that evolves into court intrigue. The consequences of Reyna and Levi opening isolationist Miramar to the outside world are perhaps too briefly dealt with. Reyna’s relationship with Prince Levi works best as a solid partnership when they are united in finding the missing—and ensorcelled—sailors. Both young people’s good sense and open attraction to each other means that bits of romantic conflict don’t quite fit. Thankfully, they are more interested in harpies and secret passages than relationship drama.
VERDICT A forgotten kingdom, kidnapped sailors, and an ambitious girl cartographer hungry to chart the unknown—this book will satisfy fans of female-led adventure fantasy.

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