Strike the Zither

Roaring Brook. (Kingdom of Three: Bk. 1). Oct. 2022. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250258588.
Gr 8 Up–In a warring country, strategist Rising Zephyr must help her lordess Ren reclaim the throne and save the empress from her aptly named evil prime ministress, Miasma. Ren’s forces are the underdog from the beginning, fleeing the much larger forces of the empire and surviving through luck, grit, and Zephyr’s stratagems. To save one of Ren’s swornswisters, Zephyr must do the unthinkable and pretend to betray her lordess, switching to Miasma’s side as a double agent. But she gets more than she bargained for when she meets Miasma’s strategist Crow, who is just as sly as she is. Now Zephyr must outsmart Crow to get back to her lordess, but even she does not know the full story. The book is filled with incredible twists and turns. Readers will be swept along in this epic, sprawling tale that reimagines the historic Chinese tale of the “Three Kingdoms.” The author deftly weaves a realistic fantasy world worthy of George R.R. Martin with incredible heart. Although some plotlines feel unfinished, the sequel will surely be hotly anticipated. Perfect for fans of Heidi Heilig’s “Shadow Players” trilogy.
VERDICT An entrancing fantasy entry that will leave readers waiting breathlessly for the sequel.

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