Empress Crowned in Red

HarperTeen. (Witches Steeped in Gold: Bk. 2). Jun. 2022. 768p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062946010.
Gr 9 Up–Jazmyne has taken the throne of Aiyca, but the magic she should have inherited from her deceased mother has not yet come. Her position is tenuous until she can get the approval of her people. Iraya has taken her revenge and now seeks to free Aiyca for her people, but a new enemy is on the horizon. She and Jazmyne will have to become temporary allies once again—better the enemy you know—to stop the nightmare army. The Machiavellian machinations create a lot of plot threads to keep track of, which rewards a careful reader. Smart’s prose is occasionally burdensome, but overall, the story proceeds apace.
VERDICT This Jamaican-inspired fantasy is unique in the YA space, but given its length, it’ll likely appeal only to dedicated fantasy readers. An additional purchase.

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