The elders chose Elli to be queen, but they chose wrong in this beautifully crafted novel that “fans of Rae Carson’s books and Victoria Areyard’s Red Queen will find much to love in” (VOYA).
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
The Kupari are the only people in their world who practice magic. Some can use the forces of fire or ice, and their most powerful magician and queen, the Valtia, wields both. The Valtia's heir doesn't gain magic until the queen dies. Elli, known to be the princess because of a magical birthmark, awaits her inheritance after the Valtia dies raising a storm against the country's enemies, but she turns out to have no magic in her at all. Fine (Of Metal and Wishes) follows a disgraced Elli into the backlands as she attempts to find a way to be of use to her country. Elli's quest is absorbing, the story well-paced, and the world and its magic intriguing, but Fine doesn't always delineate the characters, images, and action sequences well enough to evoke strong emotion. The plot leans strongly on stock fantasy ideas, such as the ancient prophesy that turns out to govern a great deal of the characters' lives, contributing to an entertaining but not always gripping story. Ages 12 up.