Sona and the Golden Beasts

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Mar. 2024. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063295407.
Gr 3-7–Tension and unrest roils between the golden-eared Indigenous population of Devia and the Malechs who are mining the land for its jewels. Songs are powerful to the Devans and help them connect with the five magical beasts. The Malechs have outlawed singing and mixed marriages. Sona, raised in a Malech home, is a girl who has an affinity for animals, frequently caring for strays. When she finds a wolf pup with golden ears, she knows she must protect it from the Hunter. Sona and a Devan boy named Raag embark on an adventure to save the wolf, find nectar that will save the life of a woman important to both of them, and possibly summon the sixth beast who according to lore will appear at the time of a Devia’s greatest need. Fantasy, action, and a quest drive the story. Flawed adults controlled by anger and greed are among the many obstacles the main characters and their trusty animal companions face. Between chapters there are historical writings, song lyrics, letters, and missives that contribute to the worldbuilding. Commentary on colonialism, natural resources, and power add depth to the tale. With a free-Devia movement growing, the story looks for a path forward with reconciliation and healing.
VERDICT A compelling read set in a richly developed world with two young characters on a quest to save the Golden Beasts, discover their family secrets, and make their beloved country better for the people living there.

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