Elayne Audrey Becker
Tor, 2021 (2021)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
layne Audrey Becker's
is a YA fantasy starring Rora, who can shapeshift, a talent reviled in human lands. Rora and her brother Helos were taken under the protection of King Gerar four years before, and now Rora spies for him. When not on a mission she lives on the edge of the royal estate, her presence barely tolerated by most.
s the story opens, she's been tracking a magical illness across the land. Only humans die from it, none with magical abilities. Rora flies as a goshawk and varies her appearance in the villages she visits. She reports back to the king that the illness is spreading. But when she visits her best friend, younger prince Finley, she's shocked to see that he's caught the illness.
ora embarks on a quest (along with hostile elder prince Weslyn and Helos) deep into the perilous wilderness where she and her brother grew up. They seek rare Stardust, the only cure for Finley. They face many dangers and negotiate with giants. There are captures, escapes, and unexpected meetings, before they return, to be horrified by what they find.
s this volume ends, Rora takes on one final mission - on her own. Readers will have to wait for another episode to find out what unfolds.
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