Winter, White and Wicked

Abrams/Amulet. Oct. 2020. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419740237.
Gr 7 Up–When her best friend disappears to join the rebels, rig driver Sylvi agrees to a dangerous job in exchange for bringing her home safely. Hauling cargo across Layce—a land perpetually ravaged by Winter—isn’t easy at the best of times, but hauling illegal wares for a smuggler during the dangerous season is perilous even for one as favored by Winter as is Sylvi, who has white hair and pale gray eyes. Hazardous roads, corrupt Rangers, zealous societies, and even monsters stand between the teenager and the hidden rebel camp. But with the contractual help of the smuggler and his crew, Sylvi is determined to pull it off. Elaborate creation stories and warring political powers govern daily life for the diverse islanders on Layce and immerse readers in Sylvi’s world from page one. Winter, anthropomorphized as a female spirit, is a main character in her own right, setting the scene, creating the mood, maintaining the atmosphere, and manipulating the plot in her own favor. Sylvi is a resilient though conflicted character, and the changing relationship between the two drives the nonstop action throughout the book. In addition to Winter, Sylvi’s shifting ties to the crew of smugglers provide readers an emotional pause between adventures.
VERDICT A truly unique tale that will leave readers shivering with anticipation for the next installment.

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