Sackier, Shelly. The Antidote. Harper Teen, 2019. 368p. ISBN: 9780062453471. $17.99. MS, HS ***
Ten years ago a swift moving plague swept through Fireli. Many in the kingdom died and the remaining children were evacuated to live in the other three kingdoms of Atheusa. Only two children were left behind; Xavi the next in line to become king and his best friend Fee now apprentice to Fireli’s strict healer. Just days before the evacuees are set to return, Xavi falls ill and on his arrival Prince Rye implicates his betrothed – Fee. Thus unfurls a twisted conspiracy with hidden magic, near death experiences, family legacies revealed, forbidden romance, power hungry witches and many reveals. Although this title has its moments with fast paced action and potential for a complicated deeper fantasy, the lack of cohesive world building and chapters that randomly jump to the past make for an unsatisfying unfurling. All characters are assumed white. Middle school buyers should note that Fee and Rye have some hot and heavy moments that might be a reason for some to keep this off middle school shelves.
Carla Avitabile, San Mateo Public Library