336p. (Steeplejack: Bk. 2). Tor Teen. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765388131.
Gr 6 Up—In this sequel to Steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga continues to work behind the scenes for politician Josiah Willinghouse. When plans are stolen for a weapon, Sutonga must infiltrate an exclusive social club, which requires her to learn new skills as a visiting dignitary and socialite, no easy feat for a former steeplejack who grew up impoverished and on the margins of society. Set in an alternative version of South Africa, Hartley's story succeeds in building a detailed world of both familiar (charging hippos) and unfamiliar (a precious mineral, luxorite, used by the rich) elements while also tackling a wide range of complicated social issues. This installment deftly addresses gender and racial politics and class issues with a light touch. Sutonga is well rounded and motivated by her ethics and morals without succumbing to standard genre tropes, and her lack of interest in romance is particularly refreshing. The supporting cast is diverse and well developed. Most impressive is the genre-blending; the author adeptly merges a political thriller with action, adventure, and mystery.
VERDICT This sequel will have strong appeal to a wide range of readers, particularly those looking for complex novels that reflect a diverse world.

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