Set in a lushly drawn world inspired by Inquisition Spain, Zoraida Córdova's fantasy is an epic tale of love and revenge perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir and Sarah J. Maas.
As a memory thief, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata was used by the crown to carry out the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown. The Whispers may have rescued Renata years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred—or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she drained during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit—and the boy she's grown to love—is taken captive by the notorious Principe Dorado, Renata must return to Andalucia and complete Dez's top secret mission herself. But as Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the fate of the entire kingdom—and end the war that has cost her everything.
In this duology opener from C rdova (the Brooklyn Brujas series), King Fernando of Puerto Leones conquers neighboring Memoria and its magically gifted people by kidnapping seven-year-old Renata Convida, a Moria memory thief, and using her to extract tactical knowledge from prisoners. Two years later, Moria rebels dubbed the Whispers rescue Ren and train her as one of their own. Now 17, Ren knows many Whispers think her a traitor for the bloodshed she unwittingly facilitated as a child. Consequently, when she accidentally endangers her boyfriend and unit commander, Dez, during his mission to destroy a weapon that could eradicate the remaining Moria, she flees camp without telling anyone and resolves to save Dez herself even if doing so means returning to the palace where she was a prisoner. This Spanish Inquisition inspired fantasy beguiles with evocative prose, organic worldbuilding, and an ethnically diverse cast. C rdova does little to establish Dez and Ren's romance, diminishing the story's emotional heft, and the mechanics of the characters' assorted powers feel murky and convenient, but ample intrigue propels the tale to a gripping close. Ages 14 up.