is the third book in the Earthsinger Chronicles by L. Penelope. Released 11th Aug 2020 by Macmillan on their St. Martin's Griffin imprint, it's 496 pages and available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.Even though it's the third book in the series (there's also a novella in addition), I think it would work reasonably well as a standalone (I've read the previous two books but not the novella). I had no trouble following the plot or the wonderfully complex and rich world building and magical systems. It's a hybrid high fantasy with some nods to steampunk/technology. The author is quite gifted, especially with her descriptive prose and dialogue. I wasn't yanked out of the story one single time by clunky or unbelievable dialogue.
There is a romance theme, so readers who are only in it for the swords will probably skip the kissing bits. There's also quite a lot of violence. I liked that the books have strong female representation who are practical, resourceful, and intelligent. For readers who prefer their speculative fiction romance-free, this book does include a significant romance subplot. The writing is superlative however, and the included romance element wasn't cringe-worthy or badly written at all. I would classify it as mature YA/NA but I didn't find it juvenile in any way (I would say 'adult' but that conjures a different demographic).
Four stars. This is a gifted author with an intelligent and immersive story to tell.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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