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The Bright & the Pale (The Bright & the Pale, 1) Hardcover – March 2, 2021
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Debut author Jessica Rubinkowski delivers the thrilling first book in an epic Russian folklore–inspired fantasy duology filled with page-turning romance, tragedy, magic, and monsters. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sara Raasch!
Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed on her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the czar, who has set out to imprison anyone who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend, Alik, the only piece of home she has left. That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held captive. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot. And it has waited years for release.
From School Library Journal
"Sparkling and sumptuous, Rubinkowski’s adventurous debut crackles with tension and yearning. I was so transported into Strana’s icy world, I saw my breath in the air as the pages flew by." — Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows
“The Bright & the Pale is an action-packed adventure set in a richly detailed world where you never know who to trust and the twists keep coming! I was riveted right up until the final startling page.” — Amy Ewing, New York Times bestselling author of The Jewel
"The icy atmosphere of this Russian-inflected debut novel is vividly rendered, and the briskly paced plot moves the story along through multiple twists, turns, and betrayals. An atmospheric series opener well suited for a cold winter’s night." — Kirkus Reviews
"Debut author Rubinkowski paints a vivid picture of this mythological, Russia-esque land where fairy tales come to life and adventure rolls over every page. A riveting fantasy tale. Hand this to readers who enjoy Leigh Bardugo and are looking for a similar fantasy world to dive into." — School Library Journal
"Drawing inspiration from Russian folklore, Rubinkowski offers an atmospheric fantasy debut populated by engaging characters and fueled by a strong premise, with a cliffhanger setting up events for the sequel."
— Publishers Weekly
"Rubinkowski’s Russian-inspired fantasy offers a fast, page-turning pace while offering a little bit of everything, expertly balancing elements of thriller, action, and romance. Readers will have a hard time putting this down." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
- Publisher : Quill Tree Books (March 2, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062871501
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062871503
- Reading age : 14 - 17 years
- Grade level : 9 - 12
- Item Weight : 14.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.09 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #540,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2021
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Overall, this book was decent but I did find myself at one point getting a little bored. I probably would have given it three stars, but the last five chapters were really exciting so I bumped it to four.
I do have to mention that this book has something that I have yet to see in YA adult fantasy. So we have our basic female MC who goes on a journey and is the “chosen one”...
BASIC right? Right. (Btw I love that type of trope)
BUT the male MC who is usually super strong, best sword fighter there is blah blah blah. (Again, I love that type of MC)
In this book the male MC was none of those things. He actually was a burden and slowed down the female MC at times. He really didn’t bring anything to the table, except being her companion. Which is cool because GIRL POWER!
I just thought I would mention it because I have never seen that before. I thought it was interesting and different.
I'm a sucker for good lore and it's what I find lacking in many YA titles but Rubinkowski doesn't disappoint. The lore and world building is so well done in this book that it left me feeling like I was a part of the world. I found myself connecting to this book in a way that really surprised me. It has just enough horror elements to keep me entertained, enough twists to keep me guessing, and the ending....well you just have to read for yourself. Please go pick up a copy and see for yourself. You won't be disappointed!
Minus a few copy edit errors throughout the book, I was left feeling satisfied and ready for more. I am looking forward to the next book already!
*Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC*
Cons: Amazon did a cruddy job on the packaging of my physical copy. I wish the page count was longer so there were more detailed descriptions of settings and character conversations.