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Bound by Fate. Divided by Duty.As a princess of the Moonrise Isles and one of its fiercest warriors, Yenni has always put duty before her own desires. When her father falls gravely ill, she knows she...
Bound by Fate. Divided by Duty.As a princess of the Moonrise Isles and one of its fiercest warriors, Yenni has always put duty before her own desires. When her father falls gravely ill, she knows she...
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Description-

  • Bound by Fate. Divided by Duty.
    As a princess of the Moonrise Isles and one of its fiercest warriors, Yenni has always put duty before her own desires. When her father falls gravely ill, she knows she must find the cure and sets out on an arduous journey that takes her to a magical academy in the far reaches of the Empire of Cresh.
    There is no room for failure, but Yenni struggles to learn the strange magic of Cresh as a cure continues to evade her. And complicating matters is Weysh, a dragon shifter who says Yenni is his Given—his one true partner ordained by destiny. As a dragon, Weysh is an ally, both in matters of magic and friendship. As a man, he is a beautiful and infuriating distraction.
    With her father's life hanging in the balance and her feelings for Weysh deepening, Yenni realizes her greatest challenge has just begun—save her people, while also following her heart.
    Breakout author Nandi Taylor brings to life an Afro-Caribbean-inspired fantasy that blends vast world-building with a swoon-worthy romance in this epic debut.

About the Author-

  • Nandi Taylor is a Canadian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent based in Toronto. Her debut novel Given garnered over one million reads on the online story sharing site Wattpad and earned a starred review from ALA's booklist. Nandi graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in English literature and a diploma in journalism and has worked as a travel writer while living abroad in Japan. Her works are an expression of what she craved growing up—Black protagonists in speculative settings with themes of growth, courage, and finding one's place in the world.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    January 10, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-In her debut novel, Taylor builds a vibrant, fantastical world where characters grapple with themes like free will, forbidden love, and family obligation. Yenni Ajani is a confident young woman who has always defied expectations, and does so again when she sets off alone on a quest to find a cure for her father's mysterious illness. She arrives in Cresh, a land that practices magic unlike her own, and sets to her task only to find herself distracted by a dragon who insists that their destinies are intertwined. This book changes up conventional fantasy storytelling by bringing a Harry Potter-esque world of stone buildings and muttered spells in contact with characters like Yenni, who have their own separate mythologies and powers. Readers will appreciate the evolution of characters as they confront issues like colonization and sexual consent; however, some character shifts are perhaps a little too convenient to feel entirely earned. VERDICT An absorbing story with a strong female lead. Recommended for fans of fantasy and romance centered around cultural exchange and conflict.-Talea Anderson, Washington State University

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2020
    African and Caribbean mythology with dragons. Yenni Aja-Nifemi is an 18-year-old princess of the Yirba people. With a reputation for being unladylike due to her interest in hunting, combat, and studying runelore, she is in no rush to settle down and marry, as her royal responsibilities require. Yenni wishes to find a way to save her father, the chieftain, whose health has been failing with no diagnosis, much less cure, in sight. She is granted permission to go to Cresh, making the pact of Orire N'jem, to seek answers that will help her father get better. During her year abroad, she meets Weysh--a dragonkind, or human with the ability to change into a dragon--whose first moments with Yenni leave a bad impression. To Yenni's dismay, he has taken a special interest in her and tells her that she is his Given, the one destined to be his mate. Ultimately, Weysh turns out to be more help than hindrance, and Yenni develops feelings for him despite her best efforts. But romance takes a back burner to her other problems as she navigates life in this new world where the magic and culture are so different from those of her home. The captivating worldbuilding of magical lands and well-paced plot and character development combined with intriguing twists will have readers looking forward to more. Major human characters are black. Enjoyable for readers interested in diverse, modern, lore-based fantasy. (map) (Fantasy. 12-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 15, 2020
    Grades 7-11 *Starred Review* Yenni Aja-Nifemi ka Yirba is the princess of the Yirba tribe and loves studying runes, magical markings for combat and protection. But in a time of mounting political tension, her love of runelore is seen as frivolous, particularly when her family is counting on her entering a politically beneficial marriage to stave off tribal conflict. Doing her part to help, Yenni heads for the colonizers' nation of Cresh to study at Prevan Academy for Battle and Magical Arts with the hopes of learning enough to keep the throne from being usurped. Surprisingly, the journey becomes one that requires Yenni to learn not only of foreign magic and medicine but also of love as well. In her fresh take on princess and dragon tropes, Taylor eloquently marries Caribbean folklore, magical boarding-school tales, and whimsical interspecies romance. While Yenni's betrothal to a dragon is surprising at first, there is much delight in her initial resistance to and eventual falling for her Given. Fans of dynamic heroines and those who love romance will delight in how this relationship fortifies both parties, with the unlikely pairing also emphasizing cultural inequities and the devaluation of knowledge originating in African heritages. Alternating narration between Yenni and her Given both rounds out the world building in this story while ever so gently knitting the story of two formerly disparate lives together.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Starred Booklist Review

    "Taylor eloquently marries Caribbean folklore, magical boarding-school tales, and whimsical interspecies romance. While Yenni's betrothal to a dragon is surprising at first, there is much delight in her initial resistance to and eventual falling for her Given. Fans of dynamic heroines and those who love romance will delight in how this relationship fortifies both parties, with the unlikely pairing also emphasizing cultural inequities and the devaluation of knowledge originating in African heritages. Alternating narration between Yenni and her Given both rounds out the world building in this story while ever so gently knitting the story of two formerly disparate lives together."

  • SLJ
    ---included in the BOOKLIST Editors' Choice list of the best books of 2020 (12/10/20)

    "Fantastic world-building meets dynamic storytelling in this fast-paced, adventurous love story."

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