Got this ARC at BEA (after actual publication, but I had missed this one on the radar). It rather reminds me of something Tamora Pierce would write, crossed with Scott Lynchs Lies of Locke Lamora. Fantasy, with minimal world building. You could change the names of the countries and swap them with any of your favorite fantasy novels, and they’d fit right in. This one’s biggest draw for me was the main character, Sage. It’s the sort of book where you can tell very early on that something isn’t quite what it seems with him, but it isn’t until later you put the pieces together to figure out why. The only strike I really counted against it is that it was almost too simple. I saw through the plot well ahead of where we were supposed to. Other than that, quite good. I’ll be very likely to pick up the sequel when it comes out.
This would be a good one to analyze as an unreliable narrator. Once you see the twist, you’ll want to go back and see exactly how Sage never lies, yet still mislead those around him into thinking what he wants. It’s a quick read, almost feeling more middle grade than YA, but it’s a good example of how clear prose can still have a complex plot.