Twin Daggers

Blink. Aug. 2020. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780310768142.
Gr 6-10–A hundred years after their people were supposedly destroyed by the Technocrats, 16-year-old Magi twin spies Aissa and Zandria are given the task of infiltrating Technocrat society to find the Heartless Technocrat heir. According to legend, a Magi curse caused some Techno children to be born without a heart, relying on machines to pump blood through their bodies. Upon entering the palace disguised as a mechanic, Aissa meets Aro, a Technocrat boy who wants her help in finding a cure for the Heartless. Although the twins are loyal Magi, they also have their own agenda: find the lost Magi library while hiding the true extent of their powers even from their own people. The plot of this book fails to create any tension or sense of urgency as it meanders through a continuously shifting set of objectives which all seem to be equally unimportant to narrator Aissa, whose main activity consists of going to work each day. The dialogue is stilted and repetitive, with characters frequently repeating actions and concepts readers have already seen. All the characters feel undeveloped; Aissa is meant to be 16 but possesses the hopeless naivety of someone much younger, and everyone, be they Magi or Technocrat, views the opposing side as completely evil, without any nuance or shades of gray. There is no mention of skin color in the book, though Aissa is described as having red hair, and Aro has pale hair and blue eyes.
VERDICT Readers looking for spy thrillers with powerful heroines should instead try Tamora Pierce’s Trickster’s Choice or Justina Ireland’s DreadNation.

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