Tor UK, out now
After Kyndra flees from her community following The Breaking, she discovers that she has magical powers – and a destiny that will surprise her…
What makes a hero, and what makes a villain? They’re questions that are at the heart of many great tales from across the ages – there’s been a contemporary take in the Netflix Daredevil, for example – and Lucy Hounsom’s new novel addresses this by making you wonder whether the division between the two really is as well delineated as we’d like to think.
In many ways this is a traditional fantasy tale, with its own rules of magic clearly set out (the position of the sun and the moon are key), and Hounsom gives us a central character in Kyndra with whom we can empathize. She’s perhaps not as well rounded as some of the others; the sections with Bregenne and Nadiah show that Hounsom can develop characters in a way that doesn’t feel as if the reader is getting an info-dump about their relationships and outlook – and indeed, across the board, the world building is deftly handled.
There’s enough that is familiar in this to make it an easy, enjoyable read, but every so often Hounsom plays with the tropes – enough to make me intrigued as to the eventual destination she has for her characters.
Verdict: An assured debut novel. 7/10