The Cerulean
496p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062489982.
Gr 7 Up—Sera lives in the City Above the Sky, an ethereal disc that travels across the universe and tethers itself to planets for a source of energy. The City is populated by silver-skinned, blue-haired women whose blood is magic. The women of the city marry in triads and procreate through parthenogenesis; males do not exist. Sera's city has been parked above its current planet for almost a century when the decision is made to move on. To break the tether that attaches the City, a sacrifice must be made. Sera, who has always been somewhat of an outcast, is chosen for this sacred task. When Sera's fall from the sky fails to break the tether, she miraculously survives. The protagonist is immediately captured and kept as a curiosity by the male-dominated society she finds in the world below. Meanwhile, mystery and intrigue unfold back in the City with a possibly corrupt High Priestess at the center of it all. Part high fantasy, part mystery, with a whole lot of feminism, this first volume in a duology inventively explores the themes of gender, nonconformity, self-acceptance, and family. While a little slow to start, the tale will grab readers as they get to the meat of the story, and they will be hooked.
VERDICT Give to fans of The Reader by Traci Chee or any epic fantasy lover ready for a rich new world and a complex but rewarding plot.

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