The Bright & the Pale

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. (Bright & the Pale: Bk. 1). Mar. 2021. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062871503.
Gr 9 Up–Valeria, a 17-year-old orphan, is drafted to join an elite, secretive group called the Thieves Guild. The guild operates in Strana, a fantasy nation similar to Russia that is ruled by the Czar. When Vlaeria is tasked with retrieving a valuable resource that will be used to overthrow the Czar, the mission is compromised and she is asked to make a perilous journey. Valeria joins a new group of mysterious adventurers on a trek to her ice-plagued home to retrieve lovite, Strana’s most valuable resource, which turns the villagers’ skin paper-white. As Valeria travels closer to home, secrets are revealed and she has tough choices to make. Debut author Rubinkowski paints a vivid picture of this mythological, Russia-esque land where fairy tales come to life and adventure rolls over every page. While some aspects of the story that are introduced get seemingly forgotten, the threads that are pursued are thoroughly fleshed out and envelope the reader in a riveting fantasy tale.
VERDICT Hand this to readers who enjoy Leigh Bardugo and are looking for a similar fantasy world to dive into.

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