Lore of the Wilds

Harper Voyager. Feb. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780063380592. $28. FANTASY
DEBUT After an earthquake shatters the human settlement of Duskmere, fae arrive in the apothecary where Lore Alemeyu works, in search of a human who can enter the enchanted library of Wyndlin Castle. After securing promises of aid for her community, she journeys into the realm of the fae. Nobody has entered the library in centuries, and it’s a cluttered wreck. Lore befriends Asher, a castle guard, who helps her navigate the dangerous world of Wyndlin Castle, and their friendship deepens into attraction. When Lore discovers a magical tome, she learns that the fae did not keep their promise to help the people of Duskmere rebuild. With Asher’s help, she escapes the castle, embarking on a quest to save her people. Sbrana’s debut features a cast of characters whose curiosity and courage are on display throughout the story. Lore’s desire to embrace her elemental magic is a driving force, and the satisfying romantic subplot contains enough steam to satisfy romantasy fans.
VERDICT Sbrana’s worldbuilding is richly detailed, with much of the action taking place in the final third of the book, and the cliffhanger ending will have readers breathlessly anticipating the sequel. Cozy fantasy readers should take note.
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