Monsters Born and Made

Sourcebooks/Fire. Oct. 2022. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781728247625.
Gr 8 Up–In this South Asian–inspired fantasy novel, 16-year-old Koral finds herself with many enemies. The world she lives in contains two main castes—the Landers are wealthy, while the Renters are poor. Koral belongs to the Hunters, a subcaste that everyone looks down on. Koral’s family has hunted maristag for generations so that the Landers can use them to participate in the Glory Race. Liria, Koral’s sister, is sick and the family cannot afford her medicine. Koral’s father is harsh and does not seem to take care of his family, leaving it to Koral and her brother, Emrik. Koral offends everyone, even people at the black market, so her only choice is to enter the Glory Race and win against those who have trained their whole lives. Hunters are not allowed to enter the race, so when Koral shows up, she has a target on her back—but it turns out a group called Noah’s Ark is just as dangerous. This book will instantly remind readers of The Hunger Games and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races. It never sets itself apart from those classics, however. Koral isn’t a heroine that readers genuinely get to know and root for, and with that missing component, the story falls short.
VERDICT Overall, this is not a necessary purchase for libraries.

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