Technomagic, queer activism, and an extremely online trans protagonist sparkle in this wisecracking, intimate #OwnVoices debut. Three years ago, Wyatt Croft’s uncontrolled magic started a murderous wildfire, and he fled the fae kingdom of Asalin for Texas. Now 17 and out as a gay trans man, having escaped the persecution that Asalin’s witches face, Wyatt, who’s white, resents being dragged home by Emyr North, his “nearly obsidian” royal fiancé and former friend, to marry and secure the throne against a rival upstart. Wyatt and his asexual best friend Briar (who is Seminole and Diné) are quickly swept into a grassroots witch movement as well as a dark deal with Emyr’s rival for Wyatt’s freedom. But Wyatt’s bond with Emyr hasn’t died, and it may change everything. Edgmon’s ebullient debut depicts a variety of trans perspectives with tender sensitivity, and quintessential walking disaster Wyatt’s self-deprecating humor, punk glee, and surprisingly level head are vividly lovable. Despite the book’s occasional stumbles into social media didacticism, readers will adore this revolution-tinged celebration of trans joy, which refreshingly builds its conflict without jumping for trauma tropes. Ages 13–up. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (June)
From the Publisher
"This romantically charged, anti-fascist fantasy presents a diverse cast of queer characters, (...) the page-turning resolution promises an irresistible duology closer to come." –Kirkus Reviews
"A complex fantasy debut, rich in nuanced LGBTQIA+ representation and timely social commentary, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera, Holly Black, and Rin Chupeco." –School Library Journal
"Edgmon's debut is a spellbinding duology starter, ultimately driven by its core cast of complicated and lovable characters, who will keep readers laughing with deftly written, witty dialogue that never veers into cliché, and a richly layered world that feels incredibly real, with high-stakes fascism, corruption, and oppression. Readers will be left eager for the sequel to this fiery stunner of a fantasy." –Booklist
"Edgmon's ebullient debut depicts a variety of trans perspectives with tender sensitivity, and quintessential walking disaster Wyatt's self-deprecating humor, punk glee, and surprisingly level head are vividly lovable. (...) readers will adore this revolution-tinged celebration of trans joy, which refreshingly builds its conflict without jumping for trauma tropes." –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Just as trans witch Wyatt begins to feel comfortable in his new life with his adopted human family and best friend Briar, he is ripped away from the human world and forced to face his traumatic past as the chosen mate of the future king of the fae. In Edgmon's complex fantasy society embedded in our contemporary world, the fae are the conservative ruling elite, hiding from humans and oppressing an underclass of witches. As the only witch in his fae family, Wyatt grew up between two worlds, made safe only by the favor of Emyr, the future ruler who chose him as his future mate. Now, having transitioned and escaped in the wake of a disaster that turned the fae world against him, Wyatt finds himself back in a deeply divided society, where Emyr's progressive policies face violent conservative backlash that spells danger for all those who deviate from "the ways of Faery." This book masterfully weaves Wyatt's re-traumatization, his complicated feelings about his former best friend and love interest, Emyr, and his desire to escape a destiny that he never chose. Wyatt's personal conflict is set against a world that is imperfect but changing, as its people begin to face the systemic oppression that has shaped their society. While the book's length and convoluted plot may put off some readers, its rich worldbuilding and LGBTQIA+ representation, including a wide range of trans, nonbinary, and queer characters, will excite fantasy fans looking for a new world to explore. Wyatt is described as white, Briar is Seminole and Diné, Emyr and his mother have dark skin, and secondary characters within the fae world have a variety of skin tones and implied ethnicities. VERDICT A complex fantasy debut, rich in nuanced LGBTQIA+ representation and timely social commentary, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera, Holly Black, and Rin Chupeco.—Molly Saunders, Manatee County P.L., Bradenton, FL
A fugitive witch from an oppressive fae kingdom plots to free himself from his past when his unwanted fiance, heir to the throne, forces him to return home under the threat of a life-or-death blood contract.
The fae of Asalin abuse and abandon witches, children born with no wings or horns and fewer limitations on their magic, like 17-year-old White transgender boy Wyatt Croft. Before he escaped the flames of his traumatic past and found a new life for himself in the human world, Wyatt’s family only valued him for his potential to produce heirs with the prince, who is bound to him by an inherent magical connection and a contract of marriage. When Prince Emyr, a Black fae with healing powers, demands Wyatt return so they can ascend the throne and stop an insurgency, all Wyatt wants at first is to escape again, but he’s swept up in unresolved feelings and a revolution. This romantically charged, anti-fascist fantasy presents a diverse cast of queer characters, including Wyatt’s best friend, who is bi, asexual, Seminole, and Diné. Fat characters are presented with no less power and beauty than those with chiseled muscles. Although Wyatt’s relationship with Emyr is fraught with tension, consent remains a central theme, resisting the romanticization of co-dependence and Stockholm syndrome. The page-turning resolution promises an irresistible duology closer to come.
A fire starter. (author’s note) (Fantasy romance. 14-18)