The Night Ends with Fire

Ace: Berkley. (The Night Ends with Fire, Bk. 1). Jul. 2024. 432p. ISBN 9780593815724. $30. FANTASY
War is coming, and the Three Kingdoms launch an imperial draft for all men. Meilin’s father is addicted to opium and refuses to be drafted, instead planning to sell Meilin into marriage with an older, abusive man and steal her dowry. Meilin decides that her only chance to change her future is to disguise herself as a boy and enlist in her father’s place. In the army, she tries to keep a low profile, but her quick mind brings others into her life, including Prince Sky (her trainer), a sea dragon spirit that offers power with its own agenda, and an enemy prince who challenges Meilin’s beliefs and desires. Meilin’s not sure whom to trust, and her own ambition could place her future in another’s hands. The climactic ending will leave readers anticipating the duology’s conclusion.
VERDICT Song’s (An Echo in the City) poetic prose brings together cardinal spirits, a flawed protagonist, and a plot inspired by the legend of Mulan.
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