The first in a gripping fantasy duology inspired by Mulan and Romance of the Three Kingdoms, perfect for fans of R. F. Kuang and Rin Chupeco.

by K. X. Song
Ace/Penguin Random House, 2024
(via Park & Fine Literary)

The Three Kingdoms are at war, but Meilin’s father refuses to answer the imperial draft. Instead, facing mounting gambling debts, he plans to sell Meilin for her dowry to fund his opium addiction. But when Meilin discovers her husband-to-be is another violent, ill-tempered man, she realizes that nothing will change for her unless she takes matters into her own hands.
The very next day, she disguises herself as a boy and enlists in her father’s place.
With the help of Sky, the prince who leads their platoon, Meilin’s relentless hard work brings her recognition and even friendship—and with Sky, a closeness that starts to border on something more. But has she simply exchanged one prison for another? As her army barrels towards a deadly war, Meilin begins to have visions of a fickle sea dragon spirit that warns her of sinister forces at work behind the war, cornering her into another impossible decision: remain a loyal soldier for a kingdom that would turn on her in an instant if her true identity were discovered, or wield the tantalizing outlawed magic that the sea dragon offers and claim the power long denied to her and every other woman in the kingdom.
As the very future of the Three Kingdoms hangs in the balance, Meilin will need to decide whom to trust—Sky, who inspires her loyalty and love; the sea dragon spirit, which has its own murky agenda; or an infuriating enemy prince who makes her question everything she once knew—about her kingdom and about her own heart.
From a major new voice in fantasy, K. X. Song offers a powerful meditation on the forces that shape our destiny and the grit required to overcome them … and on the double-edged sword of ambition, which can both free and corrupt.

K. X. Song is a Highlights Foundation fellow and a HG Wells Turnill Prize honoree. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she can often be found feeding the pampered ducks of Golden Gate Park. Her debut YA novel, An Echo In The City, is slated for publication in summer 2023 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and is about two teenagers falling in love and coming of age amid the Hong Kong protests.

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