- These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy
Trade ed. ISBN 9781335147967 $19.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9781488076251 $9.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 9–12
Twins Isaveta and Asya haven’t seen each other in years. At the castle, Izaveta is being carefully groomed to be the next queen once her mother dies; her twin, Asya, has been away grappling with her destiny as the next Firebird, a terrifying creature that exacts a price—the removal of a body part—from people who owe tribute for their magical use. When the queen dies unexpectedly (and suspiciously), both teens are unprepared to move into their respective, destined roles; after so long apart, they are also awkward with each other when Asya returns to the castle to pay her respects. The tone is folkloric, drawing from setting and character elements of the Russian folktale “The Firebird.” However, Overy has created a fully realized and haunting world that is uniquely her own. The pace is intentionally measured, drawing out the mystery of the queen’s fate, as the reveal of what truly happened to her changes everything for her daughters, and the reader needs time to bond with them before that change occurs. A devastating conclusion sets up an unexpected direction for the second novel in the anticipated duology, one based far more in revenge and retribution than familial reconciliation. Fantasy buffs will likely be deeply invested in seeing this story through.