The Ivory Key

Royal siblings hunt for a key to hidden magic in this exhilarating YA fantasy adventure of secrets and betrayals.

Magic is running dry in Ashoka, and what is left won't protect the country against invaders. Thus Vira, now maharani (queen) after her mother's assassination, seeks an item that is fabled to unlock hidden quarries of magic, the Ivory Key. Meanwhile, Vira's sister Riya, who ran away from royal life years ago, wants the Ivory Key to help those on whom Vira has imposed heavy taxes. Ronak is determined to free Kaleb, whom Vira wrongly imprisoned for plotting their mother's murder. The brothers could start a new life and Ronak could avoid being married off by Vira, but in exchange for new identities, Ronak must deliver the Ivory Key to a criminal empire. When the estranged siblings realize their shared goal (though not how each undermines the other), they embark on an impossible journey to recover the key--one during which they must trust each other with their lives.

The Ivory Key, Akshaya Raman's debut, is a dramatic familial saga and action-packed treasure hunt and the first entry in a planned duology. The idea that "the good of the country matter[s] more than family" is pitted against the right to make one's own destiny while a "temple full of magical obstacles," a city buried in a mountain and perplexing puzzles fuel the excitement. Extravagant fashion, exquisite foods and ancient forts inspired by the author's Indian heritage create a deeply detailed world. The Ivory Key hits every much-loved aspect of fantasy. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer

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