Daleina lives in a treehouse built in one of her country's many forests. Her life is simple--she assists the village's hedgewitch and helps her family at home. Like every citizen, Daleina relies on her queen's binding magic to keep her safe from six spirit types; without the queen to hold their energies in check, they would kill every person and animal on their land. But when this balance is broken, Daleina's village is destroyed. Her family are the only survivors because Daleina, to her great surprise, manages to command the spirits to leave them alone. The development of this power tears her away from her familiar life. Sent to an academy that teaches young women how to control the spirits should the queen's power falter, Daleina struggles to fit in. Meanwhile, the disgraced champion Ven tries to figure out why the spirits are able to attack villages at all. If the queen's power is weakening, the whole country is in danger.
The first in a trilogy, Sarah Beth Durst's The Queen of Blood is deeply connected to nature, one that does not allow humanity to plunder its resources. The threats are chilling, and the landscape haunting, even in quiet, safe moments. In Daleina, readers will find a strong young woman whose intense self-doubt and unconventional approach to dealing with the spirits makes her a character well worth cheering. Known for YA novels like The Girl Who Could Not Dream, Durst dives into adult fantasy with thrilling results. --Justus Joseph, bookseller at Elliott Bay Book Company