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Upon a Burning Throne
Houghton Harcourt. (Burnt Empire, Bk. 1). Apr. 2019. 688p. ISBN 9781328916280. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781328916259. FANTASY
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OrangeReviewStarThe vast Burnt Empire has lost its emperor, but standing at the helm of the Krushans are the Dowager Empress Jilana and her stepson, demigod and devout Prince Regent Vrath. Two young princes, Adri and Shvate, are in line to rule, but simply being born into the family does not guarantee the throne. Any successor must sit upon the Burning Throne and survive the Test of Fire; those deemed unworthy will be devoured by flame. While Adri and Shvate pass the test and are declared heirs, so does another child, a female infant from an outlying kingdom, daughter of banished demonlord Jarsun. When the girl is denied by Jilana and Vrath, Jarsun vows to destroy the empire in war. As the young princes must prove they are capable heirs, for Adri is blind and Shvate, albino, the world around them prepares for a battle that will involve their families, land, mortals, and gods. Despite the heft of this nearly 700-page volume, readers will hardly be able to pull themselves away from the layered story lines and well-developed characters.
VERDICT Banker (Awaken) launches a new epic fantasy series set in a vivid world inspired by India and the Middle East, mythology and monarchy, filled with enticing narration and action.

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