The Dark Lord’s Daughter

Random. Sept. 2023. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553536201.
Gr 5-8–Kayla Jones, along with her brother Delmar and mother Rikki, have just arrived at the State Fair when the story begins. At 14, Kayla is more interested in tinkering with her newly acquired school-issued tablet than the fair. The day is proving to be perfectly normal until the family is approached by a strange man who tells Kayla that, at last, he has found her. Then, with a touch to her hand, the man pulls the family into an entirely new dimension. In this new world, called Zaradwin, Kayla discovers she is Xavrielina, the daughter and heir to the last, and greatest, Dark Lord Xavriel. Wrede crafts a well-written story with an intriguing medievalesque land of magic, divided between light- and dark-magic users. The premise of the story concerns Kayla’s journey to become a successful “Dark Lady’’ in this new world, along with a fun cast of characters. While this plot stands on its own, it is without a major adventure or the high stakes that would make it a hero’s journey, and instead veers into a cozy fantasy.
VERDICT This title may not grab readers looking for more exciting and fast-paced tales but will appeal to fans of other high fantasy stories with magic, like the “School for Good and Evil” series.

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