So Let Them Burn

Little, Brown. (The Divine Traitors: Bk. 1). Jan. 2024. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780316534635.
Gr 8 Up–Cole introduces readers to the captivating world of San Irie, where 17-year-old Faron Vincent, known as the Childe Empyrean, wields the gods’ infinite power to liberate her island from the dragon-riding Langley Empire. Cole mixes Jamaican culture and influence into the narrative, bringing the cast characters to life with refreshing complexity. As Faron navigates diplomatic challenges during an international peace summit, her responsible older sister Elara unexpectedly forms a bond with an enemy dragon, setting off a chain of events that intertwine the sisters in conflicts that transcend time. The dual perspectives of the sisters, rendered in astute prose, delve into themes of family, patriotism, war, identity, and sacrifice. With rich storytelling and lushly wrought narratives, Cole’s debut is not only a raucously enjoyable fantasy but also an insightful exploration of the lingering effects of violence and colonization on a populace. The characters’ choices, shaped by their past and present, resonate deeply, creating a narrative that is both moving and action-packed. Most characters are Black.
VERDICT Highly recommended for high fantasy teen readers, especially in libraries looking to add more diverse fantasy novels.

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