Three intersecting narratives combine in this spinoff to Morgan Rhodes’ best-selling Falling Kingdoms series. In contemporary Toronto, teenage photographer Crystal reconnects with her estranged father when her sister, Becca, becomes catatonic after opening a magical book in their family bookstore. Meanwhile, overprivileged Farrell guides his younger brother through the initiation ritual of a mysterious—and deadly—secret society. And in the fantastical realm of Mytica, Maddox, who has a talent for trapping wayward spirits, finds that his feelings for a spirit girl cause him to be noticed by the evil ruling goddess Valoria. As these stories merge, family secrets are revealed, longstanding lies are uncovered and potential future paths begin to open for all three teens.
The events of A Book of Spirits and Thieves take place a thousand years before those of Falling Kingdoms, allowing fans of that series a detailed look at the legends of ancient Mytica, but no previous knowledge is necessary to enjoy this novel. Readers of fantasy epics like A Song of Ice and Fire won’t be shocked by the sudden and sometimes brutal violence here, and readers who like action, romance and twisty mysteries will find much to appreciate, too. Although a story focusing on three characters in two different settings could easily become confusing, Rhodes’ breezy, casual writing style makes this tale accessible and easy to follow. The conclusion ties up some loose ends but keeps others unresolved, leaving readers eagerly awaiting the next volume in this new series.
Jill Ratzan teaches research rudiments in central New Jersey. She learned most of what she knows about YA lit from her terrific grad students.