Leake, Jessica. Through the White Wood. HarperTeen, 2019. 409p. ISBN: 978006266629. $17.99. HS AT ***
Katya has always been an outcast in her village for her ability to freeze anything she touches. One day while being bullied she loses control over her ability and kills several villagers. Katya’s punishment is banishment to the palace in Kiev, where it is rumored the terrible Prince Alexander is creating an army of people with special abilities. Once at the palace, Katya comes to realize that not only is Prince Alexander not terrible but he also has the ability to summon fire. There is a war brewing outside the walls of Kiev and prince Alexander needs Katya’s ability to help defeat his enemies who have organized their own army of people with the ability to control the earth. Katya and Prince Alexander must work together to discover the secrets of their abilities and save the kingdom.
This is a stand-alone fantasy with many good elements including people with elemental abilities, magic, animal sidekicks and friendship. The storyline, although good, felt like it would have benefited from being converted to a series in order to delve deeper into the fantasy elements. The story was too rushed at times, there was no tension, hardly any background on many of the characters and no real explanation on what occurred to lead to war. This book would be of interest to teens looking for a quick fantasy read or are interested in stories with elemental magic.
-Erica Gonzalez Palafox, BAYA