- The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani
Trade ed. ISBN 9780062835741 $18.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780062835765 $9.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 9–12
This companion/sequel to Khanani’s wonderful debut, Thorn (BCCB 2/20), focuses on the horse rancher’s daughter Amraeya (Rae), who was first introduced in an accompanying short story set in the same world. Born with a turned (club) foot, Rae is fiercely defensive about her own capabilities and even more protective of her family, especially her younger sister Niya, whose magic the family conceals in order to prevent her from forcibly being taken away for Mage training. When a young girl disappears from her rural village without a trace, Rae uses her cousin’s invitation to the capital as an opportunity to learn about the organization of “snatchers” and take them down. She finds an ally in Princess Alyrra, whose approaching royal wedding and reunion with her abusive family don’t deter the two of them from using Alyrra’s contacts with a mysterious thief lord to open a covert investigation. [End Page 301] While sleuthing and danger aplenty keep things moving (Intrigue! Escapes! Tax records!), Rae’s clashes with engaging thief Bren illuminate questions about the nature of justice and the responsibility of power. Rae herself is an unusually introspective, thoroughly practical heroine whose disability means that her efforts to uncover treachery and navigate royal politics have physical costs as well as emotional and moral ones. Returning readers will be delighted to see dangling threads from the first book picked up and explored, but this is a friendly entry point for new readers, too. Both will look forward eagerly to the resolution of Rae’s story. The acknowledgments addendum include resources for information on modern-day human trafficking.