“Dedicated to gender-fluid teens, this edgy, riveting fantasy of bone-deep love, acceptance, and betrayal will speak to all readers. What starts out as a classic heroic quest slowly evolves, then turns inside out and back again. Written in almost poetic language, both story and characters grow from earnest naivety to fascinating, sensual, and extraordinary.” —School Library Journal
The fate of an Empire lies with a headstrong Heir and a restless demon in this lush YA fantasy for fans of Laini Taylor and Girl, Serpent, Thorn.
Ever since she was a girl, Raliel Dark-Smile’s best friend has been the great demon that lives in the palace. As the daughter of the Emperor, Raliel appears cold and distant to those around her, but what no one understands is that she and the great demon, Moon, have a close and unbreakable bond and are together at all times. Moon is bound to the Emperor and his two consorts, Raliel’s parents, and when Raliel comes of age, she will be bound to Moon as well, constrained to live in the Palace for the rest of her days.
Raliel is desperate to see the Empire Between Five Mountains, and she feels a deep kinship with Moon, who longs to break free of its bonds. When the time finally arrives for Raliel’s coming of age journey, she discovers a dangerous way to take Moon with her, even as she hides this truth from her travel companion, the beautiful, demon-kissed bodyguard Osian Redpop. But Osian is hiding secrets of his own, and when a plot surfaces that threatens the Empire, Raliel will have to decide who she can trust and what she’ll sacrifice for the power to protect all that she loves.
An orphan girl must face untold danger and an ancient evil to save her kingdom’s prince in this “dark, sensuous…queer and lush” (Kirkus Reviews) fantasy perfect for fans of Girls of Paper and Fire and Tess of the Road.
How can you live without your heart?
In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful woman who has plagued the land for decades. The sorceress has never bothered with boys before, but Nothing has uncovered many secrets in her sixteen years in the palace, including a few about the prince.
As the empress’s army searches fruitlessly, Nothing and the bodyguard set out on a rescue mission, through demon-filled rain forests and past crossroads guarded by spirits. Their journey takes them to the gates of the Fifth Mountain, where the sorceress wields her power. There, Nothing discovers that all magic is a bargain, and she may be more powerful than she ever imagined. But the price the Sorceress demands for Kirin may very well cost Nothing her heart.