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Castle of Lies
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Castle of Lies
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Thelia isn't in line to inherit the crown, but she's been raised to take power however she can. She's been friends with Princess Corene her whole life, and she's scheming to marry Bayled, the heir to...
Thelia isn't in line to inherit the crown, but she's been raised to take power however she can. She's been friends with Princess Corene her whole life, and she's scheming to marry Bayled, the heir to...
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  • Thelia isn't in line to inherit the crown, but she's been raised to take power however she can. She's been friends with Princess Corene her whole life, and she's scheming to marry Bayled, the heir to the throne. But her plans must change when an army of elves invades the kingdom. Thelia, her cousin Parsival, and Corene become trapped in the castle. An elf warrior, Sapphire, may be Thelia's only hope of escape, but Sapphire has plans of their own. Meanwhile, an ancient magic is awakening within the castle, with the power to destroy the whole kingdom. Can Thelia find a way to protect her future—and her life?

About the Author-

  • Kiersi Burkhart grew up riding horses on the Colorado Front Range. Now she resides in Wyoming with her best friend, her dog, writing fiction for children of all ages.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2019

    Gr 9 Up-Thelia wants to replace her cousin, Princess Corene, and become queen. Bayled, a foreigner and the named heir to the throne, wants to marry Corene more than he wants to rule. Parsifal, Thelia and Corene's cousin, trades in secrets and wants people to look beyond his off-putting "irregular face" and see his true worth. Sapphire, a member of the Elf race everyone fears, is a new member of the Jaguars, an elite warrior group. Sapphire has been told the Jaguars are working to take over the kingdom by force and help the humans before they destroy themselves. This fantasy takes place mainly within the Holy Kingdom, ruled over by a drunkard king with residents fearful of magic, though it remains commonplace in other countries. Promising plotlines are impeded by an excess of information, which finally slows as the central story line starts to pick up with the arrival of yet another new suitor for Corene, which happens just as Elves are said to be planning an attack after years without contact. Relationships that seem clear-cut at the beginning undergo rapid transformation that stretch plausibility, as enemies become lovers with little buildup. There is an array of sexualities and genders as Sapphire goes by "they" and Parsifal appears to be bisexual, though none of the characters discuss these things. The underlying plot has potential but is bogged down by inconsistent characters and information overload from the start. VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries in need of fantasy with more mature content.-Rebecca Greer, Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, FL

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2019
    Secrets abound and elves invade in this multiperspective fantasy.Readers are welcomed into the corridors of Four Halls castle through four first-person, present perspectives. There's tenacious Thelia, her eyes set on the crown; quick-witted Parsifal, whose facial disfigurement is ridiculed; Bayled, the king's ward and heir; and Sapphire, a nonbinary elf who overtakes Four Halls along with an elite elven crew. Though these elves arrive to prevent a dangerous overflow of Magic, their ruthless methods petrify the humans and shock Sapphire, who expected the invasion to be nonviolent. As conditions worsen for the humans, Thelia, Parsifal, and Bayled work to overthrow the elves, with Sapphire showing signs of going turncoat as they develop affection for their captives. The narrative's strength lies in its strong-willed characters and deeply developed world, but these don't make up for a slow-moving plot, unconvincing emotional beats, and a lack of agency among protagonists. While the split perspectives initially create intrigue by letting readers in on secrets and lies, later they lead to duplicated information reveals and contribute to the story's slow pace. Life-threatening situations and complicated romantic entanglements receive equal attention; an explicit sex scene between cousins will likely take readers by surprise, though a blooming polyamorous relationship is a refreshing addition. Protagonists are diverse in skin color, sexuality, and gender.Compelling characters and worldbuilding are let down by an unengaging plot. (map) (Fantasy. 16-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

    "Otherworldly bronze-skinned elves come to the Holy Kingdom to cleanse the king's castle of an overflowing, dangerous magic, thus interrupting the various schemers fulfilling personal vendettas or aiming for the throne. The elves barricade humans in the castle as the king's heir crosses to the South on a misled mission to fight the encroaching elven army. In alternating perspectives, manipulative Thelia uses the people around her to get what she wants in a society biased against women; bisexual, drama-loving Parsifal plots their escape; ward-turned-heir Bayled uncovers hard truths about the regime as he seeks to rescue his friends; and nonbinary elf Sapphire navigates the corruption of their own kind and finds themself sympathizing with the humans. Burkhart weaves a complex web involving the characters' misconceptions about one another and the jumble of deceit propagated by and against them. The well-rounded characters develop and mature, becoming less calculating and more sympathetic as they recognize the faults of people and institutions they'd once idolized. Furthermore, the story depicts a broad range of sexualities and identities: Parsifal is bisexual, Thelia feels no sexual attraction for most people, and Sapphire never declares their gender; these three are implied to enter a polyamorous relationship by the end of the story. The frequently shifting perspectives in conjunction with the themes of sex, violence, and power grabs make this novel a comparable option to those who may be too young for Game of Thrones but are still intrigued by its premise."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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