Daughters of Nri
by Reni K Amayo
344pp (Trade Paperback)
My Rating: 7/10
Amazon Rating: --/5
LibraryThing Rating: --/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.45/5

Daughters of Nri is both Reni K Amayo’s debut novel and the debut publication of Onwe Press, whose website describes them and their mission as follows:

We are an independent publisher based in the UK. Founded by 2 black women in 2018, we want to disrupt the publishing industry offering opportunities to voices we need to hear more from.

At Onwe Press, we value three things above all: unforgettable stories, author ownership and highlighting diverse voices. We’re small but we’re mighty and we have a team dedicated to ensuring that writers, especially underestimated and underrepresented writers, get paid their due for their world-changing words.

Their recently released first book is young adult historical fantasy located in the titular Kingdom of Nri (a region within present-day Nigeria), mainly set during the year 994 AD, and is the opening installment in The Return of the Earth Mother series—and is a lovely story centered on twin sisters unaware of not only the fact that they are goddesses but also the existence of the other, having been separated shortly after birth for their own protection.

About a century before these two were torn asunder, the long-lived Eze of Nri encountered an oracle, who predicted the coming of the Earth Mother’s twins. She foresaw that they would be born in the kingdom he ruled and would bring about his end, just as he once brought about the end of the Earth Mother and the old gods who once roamed the land. After that, the Eze decreed that all twins born in Nri be put to death.

Naala and Sinai were spared this fate when they were stolen away and raised in two different places where no one knew who they actually were. Naala grew up in a village, but on the day she is supposed to be wed, the Eze’s soldiers arrive. They slaughter everyone except for Naala, who was not present for most of the attack because she was sent to a secluded hut reserved for people thought to be mad, all because she warned her people about an approaching army. Grieving and weak from awakening a power to shake the earth that she didn’t know she had, Naala is discovered by a small group of people who banded together after surviving the massacre of their own villages and seeks ways to resist the Eze’s reign of terror.

Naala’s sister Sinai grew up in a palace in the city of Nri, raised alongside the noble children under the belief that she was illegitimate royalty. She never felt like she truly belonged, and she has always been despised by Ina, a beautiful king’s daughter who becomes increasingly jealous as the handsome lord she had hoped to marry appears more interested in Sinai. One morning when Sinai is standing by a large window overlooking the city, Ina knocks her off balance, leaving her to plunge to her death. But Sinai survives the fall and is brought to the palace chef, who cares for her during her recovery—and sets her on the path to learning more of the truth about who she is, just as events steer her sister toward the same.

It took a few chapters for Daughters of Nri to completely draw me in since the beginning alternated the past with introducing Naala and Sinai, but I found it engrossing as the twins’ stories moved forward. It’s not a book to read if you’re looking for plot twists and action but one to read if you’re looking for a book that immerses you in the characters’ lives. I particularly appreciated its focus on community, Reni K Amayo’s adeptness at bringing to life the various bonds between characters, and that the two sisters’ journeys were unique yet mirrored each other in some ways.

Naala and Sinai have different personalities and experiences, but there are clear parallels between them and their paths. Both are considered to be unconventional, but they express this distinctly. Naala disturbs the other villagers by questioning their customs—and is punished for daring to disagree with their chief when she insists the group approaching is a dangerous army rather than tax collectors—and confounds them by rolling around in the dirt in her wedding dress and climbing trees. She’s more naturally inclined to take matters into her own hands than Sinai, who does not want to draw attention to herself. Sinai puzzles others by dreamily wandering the palace lost in her own thoughts, and she can be rather naive about the social workings of the nobility. Though their situations are not similar, the broad strokes share common elements. Both find friends and allies among others with similar goals and values, and both of their stories are about survival. Naala literally learns to survive in the wilderness after escaping the village with her life, and Sinai’s story is about survival as a woman surrounded by powerful men after escaping the fall with her life.

I enjoyed reading about both sisters, but I found Sinai’s chapters particularly compelling because of her relationships with Meekulu, the wise palace chef, and Ina (to my surprise). Meekulu is kind but also tells it like it is, and I rather liked the development of the “mentor giving the mentee a task” subplot since it went in an unexpected but welcome direction. That’s also what I loved so much about Ina’s progression: at first, this seems like the usual tale of a cruel girl hating a sweet girl because of a man, but it doesn’t follow the typical trajectory when Sinai makes a choice that changes everything. Ina actually ended up being my favorite character after the two main protagonists.

The prose was mostly smooth and sometimes elegant, although there were a few times it was a bit stilted, especially toward the beginning. Some of this could have been easily fixed and may have been in the final version, though. The largest issues I had with this novel were unrelated to the writing style but had to do with the Eze and the ease with which magic overcame obstacles. The Eze is an uninteresting villain: he’s the type who thinks he’s just but has no apparent redeeming qualities. It makes sense that he’d be set in his ways since he’s been alive for a while and it certainly makes it easy to want to see him defeated, but his dialogue and Big Villain Monologue are rather trite. I’m more divided on whether or not magic happened too accidentally and conveniently. After all, Naala and Sinai are goddesses, even if they don’t realize it yet, and magic seems like it would come naturally to deities. But training does prove to be beneficial in helping them control these abilities, and given that, I do feel like inadvertent use of power was relied upon too much to neatly solve problems.

That said, Daughters of Nri is an enchanting, absorbing novel with beautifully handled themes, and it drew me into its world and made me care about Naala, Sinai, Meekulu, and shockingly, even Ina.

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: ARC from the publisher.


Girl in the Arena
by Lise Haines
336pp (Trade Paperback)
My Rating: 6/10
Amazon Rating: 3.3/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.23/5
Goodreads Rating: 2.99/5

Book Description:

During the week, Lyn lives in a big house in Cambridge and hangs out with friends in Harvard Square. But over the weekend, she cheers her father on as he gears up for neo-gladiator competition-a high-profile televised blood sport that rivals the NFL. Lyn’s father is the top player in the league, and the paparazzi that have always swarmed him have started to dog Lyn’s every move. All this fame comes with another price—Lyn’s family lives with the constant presence of violence, uncertainty, and a strict cultural code set by the Gladiator Sports Association. When a skilled young fighter slays Lyn’s father, the GSA imposes an unthinkable sentence—Lyn must marry her father’s murderer. Though her mother has made a career out of marrying into Glad culture, Lyn is prepared to do whatever it takes to claim her independence. Even if it means going into the arena herself.

Lise Haines’ debut novel, a dark satire for our time, is a mesmerizing look at a modern world addicted to violence, fame, and greed—a world eerily close to our own.

Girl in the Arena was not exactly what I had been expecting based on the title and my copy’s back cover description, which mainly focuses on Lyn facing off against her father’s killer in a fight to the death. Though there is violence (also, content warning for suicide), it’s not as much about fighting or even this one particular match as it is the messed-up culture the Gladiator Sports Association (GSA) has created—how it entraps people with its rules, making it difficult for gladiators and their families to escape—and Lyn’s dedication to finding a way out of doing as the GSA commands. Personally, I found reading about how this affected Lyn and her family far more compelling than if it had been primarily about gladiator competitions, and this is one of the novel’s best qualities, along with the unpredictability of the story.

The characters were not exactly what I had been expecting from a book with “One night only! Fight to the Death!” emblazoned across its back cover, either. Lyn is a pacifist who does not want to be a gladiator wife, especially after seeing what her mother has gone through as one, and dreams of leaving this whole lifestyle behind—but she becomes further drawn into it due to financial difficulty and the GSA’s bylaws, which state she needs to marry the man who slew her father in the arena. This gladiator, who goes by the rather unfortunate name of Uber, is basically an awkward, muscly cinnamon roll. He never wanted to fight or kill Lyn’s father, and he would also be happy to leave the gladiator life behind.

Although this is not a book that delves deeply into characterization, these characters are likable, and Lyn’s determination and relationships with her family are vividly drawn. Girl in the Arena also does a good job of making Lyn’s various difficulties palpable—not just those caused by the violence of the arena and the GSA’s rules, but also that of being a celebrity constantly in the public eye and that of making connections with people who are not immersed in gladiator culture.

It’s a novel with straightforward writing that cuts right to the point without pausing for pretty phrasing. This usually makes it easy to read through quickly, but I did have some problems with the way the dialogue was formatted: instead of using quotation marks, there was a dash preceding spoken text. As far as I’m concerned, quotation marks do their job, and I found this style distracting and occasionally confusing.

Girl in the Arena didn’t have the amount of depth or the type of beautiful prose that tends to make a book memorable to me. That said, I did appreciate that its plot did not follow a traditional course and its exploration of the various forms of destruction caused by the GSA and gladiator culture—and those combined with Lyn and Uber’s dynamic made it a fun book to read once (even if I can’t type the name “Uber” without cringing).

My Rating: 6/10

Where I got my reading copy: It was a book on my wish list that I received as a Christmas gift.

Book Description:

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm—a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices put everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee’s debut Andre Norton Award–nominated novel, is set in a future version of our galaxy in which human habitation has spread to the Moon and Mars. Zeroboxing (zero gravity fighting) has become a popular sport primarily dominated by Martians since they do not have restrictive rules governing genetic engineering. Although basic modifications ensuring good health and eyesight are standard on Earth, enhancements that would make someone extraordinary are not allowed, making it impossible for the best athletes from Earth to compete on the same level as Mars’ best. Then seventeen-year-old Carr Luka of Earth begins winning nearly every one of his matches, becoming enough of a name to be the center of a large marketing campaign promoting zeroboxing on his home planet, which could open the way for more competition between athletes from Earth and Mars—but then Carr learns of a conspiracy that threatens all he holds dear…

This novel is largely a sports story with a crime/suspense element and touches on life as a celebrity, marketing, and ethics related to genetic engineering. Although I’m not a fan of boxing or similar athletic activities, I thought the mechanics of zeroboxing and the fights were the parts of the book that were done best, and everything else was underwhelming. The bits about marketing, celebrity, genetic engineering, and the rift between Earth and Mars were the most compelling to me but were not explored in depth; the characters were one dimensional; the romance between Carr and his marketing strategist was dull as one that seemed to be based more on physical attractiveness than personal connection; and the ending was abrupt since it concluded without showing the aftermath.

Zeroboxer may appeal more to fans of boxing or similar sports and/or those somewhat new to science fiction, but it was an average book for me personally: one I could finish without much of a problem, but neither one that kept me eagerly turning the pages nor one that I found particularly memorable or engaging.

My Rating: 5/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

Read an Excerpt from Zeroboxer

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (most of which are unsolicited books from publishers). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Two books came in the mail last week, both of which sound fantastic!

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden - Book Cover

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

Escaping Exodus, a science fiction novel by Compton Crook Award–winning The Prey of Gods and Temper author Nicky Drayden, will be released on October 15 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

The Harper Collins website has a sample from Escaping Exodus (link below cover image).


The Compton Crook award–winning author of The Prey of Gods and Temper returns with a dazzling stand-alone novel, set in deep space, in which the fate of humanity rests on the slender shoulders of an idealistic and untested young woman—a blend of science fiction, dark humor, and magical realism that will appeal to fans of Charlie Jane Anders, Jeff VanderMeer, and Nnedi Okorafor.

Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion.

Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void.

Then, Seske is unexpectedly thrust into the role of clan matriarch, responsible for thousands of lives in a harsh universe where a single mistake can be fatal. Her claim to the throne is challenged by a rival determined to overthrow her and take control—her intelligent, cunning, and confident sister.

Seske may not be a born leader like her sister, yet her unorthodox outlook and incorruptible idealism may be what the clan needs to save themselves and their world.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger - Book Cover

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga, a new epic fantasy written by Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge author Paul Krueger, was just released last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). I was thrilled when this showed up in the mail because I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about it and had added it to my wish list just a couple of hours before!

Tor.com has a sample containing the first two chapters from Steel Crow Saga.


A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic . . . and against her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and she soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (most of which are unsolicited books from publishers). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

A couple of these are technically from the week before last since I was spending my blogging time focused on last week’s post, which I found rather daunting to write since this book is so much in the very best of ways:

  • Review of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow — This is my favorite book of 2019 so far. It’s an ode to words, books, and imagination; it’s a story about finding your way back to yourself; and it’s ineffably enchanting with beautiful prose, among many other things. I just love it.

On to the newest book arrivals!

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K. S. Villoso - Book Cover

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #1) by K. S. Villoso

This previously self-published epic fantasy novel is being re-released by Orbit Books. The ebook is available now, and the trade paperback and audiobook editions will be available on February 18, 2020.

K. S. Villoso wrote a Twitter thread about The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, particularly its centering of Filipinos, on the day of the cover reveal a couple months ago.

I’m excited about this one, which has a very intriguing opening!


A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves, which nearly tore her nation apart. But her arranged marriage with the son of a rival clan should herald peaceful days to come.

However, her husband’s sudden departure before their reign begins puts a quick end to those dreams, and the kingdom is fractured beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, one that will send her across the sea. What’s meant to be an effort at reconciling the past becomes an assassination attempt. Stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with no idea whom she can trust, Talyien will have to embrace her namesake.

A wolf of Oren-yaro is not tamed.

A House of Rage and Sorrow by Sangu Mandanna - Book Cover

A House of Rage and Sorrow (Celestial Trilogy #2) by Sangu Mandanna

A House of Rage and Sorrow just came out last week (hardcover, ebook).

The Celestial Trilogy is space opera inspired by the Mahabharata, and I found A Spark of White Fire (the first book) to be incredibly engrossing. I am eager to find out what happens next!


One kingdom. One crown. One family.

“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”

Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?

As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.

The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.

Additional Book(s):

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
by Alix E. Harrow
384pp (Hardcover)
My Rating: 9.5/10
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 4.21/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.23/5

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is Hugo Award–winning author Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel, and it is a treasure—enchanting, wondrous, beautifully written, a book that feels like it was penned specifically for bibliophiles and fantasy fans, a story that seems destined to one day be a classic.

This historical portal fantasy set during the early 1900s is the tale of January Scaller, a young woman residing in a Vermont estate owned by Mr. Locke, the wealthy chairman of the New England Archaeological Society for whom her father works. Since her father is usually traveling all over the world collecting artifacts for his employer, January rarely sees him and spends more time with Mr. Locke, occasionally even accompanying him on his own trips.

During one such trip when she was seven years old, January discovered a Door in the middle of a field in Kentucky. At first it appeared to be an ordinary (if rather randomly placed) door, one that she could simply walk through and just be a step away from where she had been, looking at the same exact field and sky. After writing in her pocket diary about finding a magic Door, January stepped through it again, believing it to be exactly what she wrote, and found herself in a whole new world with a silver sea and white city. But when January shared what she saw with Mr. Locke, he scolded her for inventing fanciful tales, had her locked in her room as punishment, and lectured her on the necessity of being “a good girl who minds her place.” Desperate for love as a lonely child who barely knew her only parent and felt out of place with her dark skin and light eyes, she did her best to mold herself into the person Mr. Locke wanted her to be from that day forward.

At seventeen years old, January is no longer accused of being willful and temerarious, although most of her friends are still fictional besides her protective dog Bad (short for Sindbad, of course). Then she comes across a mysterious book titled The Ten Thousand Doors, which is both a scholarly account of Doors like the one she encountered a decade before—how they are change as they open the way for mythologies and magic to seep into our world—and a personal account of the change they brought to the author’s life, a story of true love, adventure, determination, and tragedy complete with delightful footnotes. And in reading this book, January’s life is also changed.

I first read The Ten Thousand Doors of January a couple of months ago and had been hoping to have this post completed around the time of its publication last week, but the idea of trying to at all accurately capture this novel’s essence in a mere book review was—and actually still is—rather daunting. (Seriously, my notes on this began with “How do I describe this book? How????”) I ended up rereading much of it again in hopes of being better able to do it justice, but I’m still at a bit of a loss when it comes to attempting to encapsulate the heart and scope of this lovely work. It is just so much (in the very best of ways).

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is an ode to words, imagination, and the power of stories. It’s about how they can take up residence in one’s soul, showing them something true and meaningful—and, at the same time, it is just that type of story.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is an ode to outsiders and dreamers. It’s an ode to being who you are despite society’s attempts to shape you into someone you’re not; it’s an ode to those who dare to write their own stories and choose their own paths regardless—especially those whose spirits the powerful want to crush.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is about violence perpetrated by the mighty—not so much physical violence, but mainly oppression and the stifling of voices. It’s about the villainy inherent in resisting progress and the way civility and politeness can be weaponized to allow corruption to continue to run rampant. Yet is is ultimately hopeful.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January contains prose imbued with insightful, unique descriptions peppered with literary references and observations on everything from the shapes of letters to the senses, especially aromas. Though the style is different, it reminded me of Laini Taylor’s writing in that it’s dripping with unusual imagery that is nevertheless the perfect fit. And the voices are fantastic—both January’s first person perspective and the chapters from The Ten Thousand Doors have one-of-a-kind turns of phrase and bibliophilic narrators, yet each is distinctly different.

It can be a rather self aware novel at times, but I felt that worked for a book that is itself in part a tribute to stories. Though January is surprised by some parts that are predictable, I thought that made sense given her isolation and upbringing. The only issue I had was that I did find some sections more riveting than others, but that’s a minor issue. Basically, I enjoyed it wholeheartedly and found all of it to be engaging but simply found some passages more engaging than others.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a gorgeous work of literary art, and I suspect it’s a book that will not soon fade from memories and bookshelves but one that will be read and remembered for years to come. It’s certainly a novel that I find unforgettable—and one that permanently belongs on my own bookshelf.

My Rating: 9.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: ARC from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook).

Read an Excerpt from The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (most of which are unsolicited books from publishers). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This covers multiple weeks since there hasn’t been a lot of book mail since the last one of these posts, plus I was working on last week’s review of A Spark of White Fire (Celestial Trilogy #1) by Sangu Mandanna. I found this Mahabharata-inspired space opera to be incredibly engaging—engaging enough that I pre-ordered the soon-to-be-released sequel, A House of Rage and Sorrow!

And now, the most recent book arrivals…

A Hero Born by Jin Yong - Book Cover

A Hero Born (Legends of the Condor Heroes #1) by Jin Yong; translated by Anna Holmwood

An English translation of the first volume in acclaimed Chinese author Jin Yong’s Legends of the Condor Heroes will be released in the US for the first time on September 17 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The publisher’s website has an excerpt from A Hero Born, and The Bookseller has an interview with translator Anna Holmwood about Jin Yong’s work and influence and her work on this English edition.

The next three installments in this series are scheduled for release in 2020 and 2021:

A Bond Undone, translated by Gigi Chang — March 2020
A Snake Lies Waiting — September 2020
A Heart Divided — March 2021


The epic Chinese classic and phenomenon published in the US for the first time!

A fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, Jin Yong’s A Hero Born is the classic novel of its time, stretching from the Song Empire (China 1200 AD) to the appearance of a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Filled with an extraordinary cast of characters, A Hero Born is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.

And then a hero is born…

After his father, a Song patriot, was murdered, Guo Jing and his mother fled to the plains and joined Genghis Khan and his people. Loyal, humble and driven, he learned all he could from the warlord and his army in hopes of one day joining them in their cause. But what Guo Jing doesn’t know is that he’s destined to battle an opponent that will challenge him in every way imaginable and with a connection to his past that no one envisioned.

With the help and guidance of his shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing returns to China to face his foe and carry out his destiny. But in a land divided by treachery and war, betrayal and ambition, he’ll have to put his courage and knowledge to the test to survive.

Novice Dragoneer by E. E. Knight - Book Cover

Novice Dragoneer (Dragoneer Academy #1) by E. E. Knight

Novice Dragoneer, the first book in a new series by Compton Crook Award–winning author E. E. Knight, will be released on November 5 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

Goodreads currently has a US giveaway for a copy running through September 15, and a book tour event in Naperville, IL, is scheduled on November 6.


In the first book in an exciting new coming-of-age fantasy series from the author of the Age of Fire series, an impoverished girl enters into a military order of dragonriders, but her path won’t be as easy or as straightforward as she expected.

Fourteen-year-old Ileth grew up in an orphanage, and thanks to her stutter was never thought to be destined for much beyond kitchen work and cleaning. But she’s dreamed of serving with the dragons ever since a childhood meeting with a glittering silver dragon and its female dragoneer. For years she waits, and as soon as she is old enough to join, Ileth runs away to become a novice dragoneer at the ancient human-dragon fortress of the Serpentine.

While most of her fellow apprentices are from rich and influential families, Ileth must fight for her place in the world, even if it includes a duel with her boss at the fish-gutting table. She’s then sent off to the dragon-dancers after a foolish kiss with a famously named boy and given charge of a sickly old dragon with a mysterious past. But she finds those trials were nothing when she has to take the place of a dead dragoneer and care for his imprisoned dragon in enemy lands. . . .

Additional Book(s):