Tor Teen. Aug. 2021. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250752161.
Gr 9 Up–Rora is a shifter, a magical person who can change into whoever she wants, as well as three animal forms. Because of the Prediction that warned of two shifters bringing about death, and a general distrust of those with magic, Rora finds herself scorned by many of the people she encounters. Nevertheless, she dutifully serves the kingdom of Telyan as a spy and gathers information on a new magical disease called the Fallow Throes that is killing humans, but not their magical counterparts. When Finley, Rora’s closest friend and one of the crown princes, falls ill with the disease, Rora is tasked with finding a cure...which can only be found in the Vale, the dangerous forest that Rora once called home. As she makes her way through the Vale, she discovers what might be the beginning of a sinister plot to eradicate all of the forestborn and magical beings. This book is both a journey of self-discovery and a survival story. As many of the characters are fighting both the dangers of the Vale and the insurgence of an enemy, readers should be aware that some graphic scenes may be upsetting. The worldbuilding does an excellent job of transporting readers to new lands and introducing them to the diverse cast of characters, who have a variety of skin tones and sexual orientations. Though the writing is strong, the description-heavy passages sometimes hinder the pacing, making for an atmospheric, but at times slow, read.
VERDICT An epic high fantasy adventure with highly descriptive worldbuilding that is sure to please fans of the genre but may deter those looking for a fast-paced read.

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