Thank you to the author for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I always enjoy Chow’s writing. Even when I can see the influences that guided her imagination—and what an imagination it is—it never feels derivative. Chow’s created yet another world full of creative magic and harsh truths. I absolutely adore the way she’s not afraid to put YA and MG characters into high stakes, life and death situations. Training as a shaman, Porter is thrust into a situation well and truly over his head. The way Chow builds him from a reluctant and petulant person and gives us growth through while allowing him to be childish and a hero feels authentic, and the peppering in of nerdy references is a delight. The children feel like children in this story, reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender, avoiding that precociousness that often bothers me in MG stories.
A habit Chow has is to throw the reader into her world and not spoon feeding every detail of her worldbuilding to them right away. Creatures, phrases, sacred days, social structures are all introduced and beautifully woven in so there is never a barrage of infodumping.
I recommend this to fans of portal fantasies and series such as The Dragon Prince or Avatar: The Last Airbender. I can’t wait to see what Chow has in store for us next.