A sequel to last year's The Shadow Queen, this book shares many of the
same themes of trauma, survival and the importance of doing what is right. Bishop handles these difficult subjects with a good deal of grace and sensitivity and, as always, with compelling characterization. Cassidy's struggle to believe in herself is particularly resonant, and Gray's mastery of his inner demons is triumphant.
Cassidy must rise to the occasion and become the queen that Jaenelle -- the former queen of Ebon Askavi and still a powerful voice in the land -- knows that she can be. It is only then that both Cassidy and the Shalador people can be whole. (ROC, Mar., 448 pp., $24.95)