The Daughters of Ys

First Second. Jul. 2020. 208p. ISBN 9781626728783. $24.99. Rated: Teen+. ;. mythology/fantasy
In ancient Breton dwells the magnificent city of Ys, where the sea’s power is kept at bay by the same arcane sorcery that has given it wealth beyond measure. The king and his late wife had two children, the eldest Rozenn, who thrives in nature, and younger Dahut, who retains her mother’s gift for magic. Initially close, their reactions to their mother’s death splits them. Rozenn pursues an existence of her own making while avoiding courtly duties, whereas Dahut embraces royalty and trods a darker path that ties her directly into the secret sins of Ys and the true cost for the magic that prevents the sea’s tumult from flowing in and submerging the entire cityscape. When a traveling prince enters the city and climbs to the bedchamber of sly conniving Dahut, it sets in motion events that could topple the most powerful city in the world and even unleash the hellish sea denizens bound to it. Can the two sisters come together and save Ys, or is the rotten core at its heart deserving of destruction?
VERDICT National Book Award–winning author Anderson (Traitor to the Nation) and artist Rioux (Cat’s Cradle) present delicate, soft-hued picture-book imagery that disarmingly explores the corruptive legacy of raw power in this most compellingly philosophical and thoughtful fantasy. [Previewed in Douglas Rednour’s “Picture This,” LJ 4/20.]

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