The finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards have been announced, including those for the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.
LODESTAR AWARD FOR BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK FINALISTS
Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer
Deeplight, by Frances Hardinge
Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee
Minor Mage, by T. Kingfisher
Riverland, by Fran Wilde
The Wicked King, by Holly Black
BEST GRAPHIC STORY FINALISTS includes:
Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
Enchanter’s Child: Twilight Hauntings by Angie Sage (9780062875143)
The author of the Septimus Heap series returns with a new fantasy world. Alex lives in Luma, where all magic is forbidden. She has a deck of Hex cards that come to life in her hands and show her images of the future. She’s always had them, given to her as a small child by the family that gave her away. But one jealous foster sister decides to name Alex as an enchanter and everything changes. Alex flees with her youngest foster brother into a world designed to hunt her down with magical hauntings. Her step mother is placed in jail for harboring her. As Alex escapes, she still doesn’t believe that she’s an enchanter’s child, though the Hauntings do target her. Meanwhile, her father who used to be an important enchanter, is searching for her. But it’s a large world, full of Hauntings that will kill them both, even though he designed them all.
Sage has a skill for developing entire worlds that click together beautifully as the story continues. Readers will wonder about why people don’t just flee the gloomy streets of Luma out to the countryside, and Sage has built dark and deadly reasons for them to stay behind the walls of the city. The entire world though is also piercingly beautiful with its citrus groves, deep woods, large meadows and turreted cities. Sage takes the time to fully build her world and its logic, allowing young readers to explore it alongside Alex.
Alex herself is a grand protagonist, figuring out that she actually is an enchanter’s child on her journeys. She is brave, forthright and clever. Happily, she is also joined by a large group of secondary characters who are all interesting as well. That includes her father, who was been hiding for years in the woods, eating snakes and spider eggs. He is joined by a person tasked with killing enchanters who just can’t bring himself to do it. Then you also have a family happy to help Alex, who have lost enchanters themselves.
Brilliantly structured, beautifully described settings, and great characters bring this new series fully alive. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Katherine Tegen Books.