Princess of Souls

Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2022. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250841742.
Gr 8 Up–At 16, Selestra is two years away from her full powers, when her green hair, pale skin, and yellow snakelike eyes will mark her as the king’s witch. But when the immortal king demands she prove herself at the Festival of Predictions, her first prophecy entwines her fate with that of the midnight-haired, brown-skinned Nox, the kingdom’s best soldier who’s out for vengeance. Determined to keep them both alive, Selestra agrees to help Nox, and they set off on a quest for a mythical sword that could end the king’s brutal reign once and for all. Highlighted by fun, snappy banter and themes of legacy, sacrifice, parental love, and expectation, the individual growth and unwilling alliance of Selestra and Nox are the book’s primary focus, albeit at the expense of more fully developing side characters. Christo’s writing is evocative and propulsive, whisking characters from one heart-stopping confrontation to the next as the story builds to its final, though rushed and somewhat overstuffed, act; she showcases skillful worldbuilding with tantalizing lore and magic systems.
VERDICT This novel immerses readers in a vivid world of cursed witches, ruthless kings, and unimaginable power. Fans of Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom will delight in returning to this universe, and readers of fairy-tale retellings and fast-paced YA fantasy will find this a unique, compelling reimagining of the classic Rapunzel tale.

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