An elaborate fantasy world is the backdrop for this female-powered YA political thriller. -- Special thanks to KidLitExchange and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for the ARC of this book which pubs in March 2020. Ekata’s family rules Kylma Above, but she wants nothing to do with the complicated and boring world of politics—she prefers the scholarly life, with a focus on biology. But when her family is cursed by the very magic they control, Ekata’s life changes course dramatically, leaving her the Grand Duke in place of her late father. In what will certainly be a multi-part book series (and probably a gorgeous movie), this richly drawn fantasy world truly shines, with fascinating politics a la Game of Thrones, and unique creatures, traditions, rituals, and magic permutations. The gendering is totally modern, and Ekata’s taking of one of her brother’s possible brides, as well as non-binary characters with they/them pronouns, and a female royal consort who’s a badass with an axe, all enrich the plot and allow readers of all kinds to find themselves reflected herein. While YA fantasy isn’t what I usually read, I very much enjoyed the rich world-building, the empowered female characters and storylines, and the originality of it all. I took one star off because it is a little dense and complicated with names and expository prose—a common flaw in the first book in a series.