NIGHT SHINE by Tessa Gratton: Escape into a YA Novel of Fantasy and Magic

Lately, you’ll note I’ve been especially drawn to richly detailed “otherworld” reading.  Night Shine by Tessa Gratton is certainly in that category.  It has many elements of an extended fairy tale, but I’d still define it as a fantasy novel, as the world of the novel has its own reality, and the characters are complex and add more depth as the riveting story progresses.  The tale centers on an orphan girl left at the palace of Empress.  She is called Nothing, and becomes the close friend of the Prince Kirin, while practically invisible to the rest of the high court.  When Kirin is kidnapped, Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard Sky set out to find him.  They come to believe he has been kidnapped by The Sorceress Who Eats Girls, in the territory of the Fifth Mountain.  On their quest, the pair travel through demon-infested forests and cross dragon and spirit-filled rivers.  And as readers, we learn more and more secrets about Nothing, her hidden powers, and the ties that bind her to the Prince–and to the Sorceress.  This is a world that acknowledges genderfluidity, and world of the transgendered.  The novel’s themes are love, betrayal, and the power of finding your own truth.  The language is poetic, and I was swept into this fantasy world.  Recommended for Grade 9 and older.

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