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Ashlords by Scott Reintgen
Crown Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Scott Reintgen, author of the Nyxia series, returns with the first title of a new duology. This action-packed fantasy thriller shadows three competitors through their journey in the Races: a fierce multi-day competition where eleven riders of phoenix horses must use cunning, alchemy, and riding skill to emerge victorious, bringing riches and glory to their people as Champion.
From the outset, Ashlords draws readers in with its ferocious cover and engaging opening chapter that dives right into the fantastical world of alchemy and phoenix horses. Despite being set in a fantastical world, the references to the effects of the media, social media, and fame are relatable for teen readers without an extended period of world-building and exposition. Similar to The Hunger Games, much of the deepest conflict is rooted in issues of class and oppression, which is highlighted in Ashlords’ use of distinct alternating perspectives of competitors Imelda (scholarship recipient), Pippa (daughter of Ashlord Champions), and Adrian (son of a revolutionary). In all, Ashlords is an accessible adventure fantasy full of suspense, with a cliff-hanger of an ending that will leave readers clamoring for the sequel.
Readers who enjoyed the multi-day motorcycle racing component of Wolf by Wolf or the water-horse racing in The Scorpio Races will be fans of Ashlords, as will readers drawn toThe Hunger Games. Fans of Reintgen’s Nyxia trilogy will enjoy the return of his suspenseful, fast-paced writing style.