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Faebound by Saara El-Arifi

HarperVoyager, HB, £14.32

Reviewed by Mikaela Silk

Yeeran has dedicated her life to the Forever War, unwavering in her belief that they can win the war and end the hunger of children all across the elven kingdom. Her sister, Lettle, hates the war and instead chooses to dedicate her life to learning the art of divination. Then, one of her prophecies changes the course of both their lives forever.

From the start, Yeeran is portrayed as the main character, yet it is Lettle who I find most intriguing. Yeeran is a strong character with unyielding morals and a clear purpose; she inspires followers wherever she goes through her unwavering kindness and determination to action. In contrast, Lettle lives somewhat more in the shadows, veiled in secrets and a hint of mystery. She seems to resent Yeeran for abandoning her in pursuit of war, but at the same time, she has an unwavering love for her sister that will follow her anywhere. She understands the unchangeable power of prophecy but doesn’t let her fear of this knowledge hold her back from pursuing her passion. These contradictions make her an intriguing and somewhat unpredictable character. Throw in a death prophecy and a love interest with secrets of his own, and you have the perfect ingredients for an explosive love story.

The world that Saara El-Arifi has created is particularly unique. I love the realistic idea that the world is not exactly what the characters think it is: their mythology is their history, their land is stolen, and their war is built on questionable foundations. It is quite emotional following along as Yeeran, so stalwart, in her support of the war, discovers these truths and comes to terms with what they mean for her people. From the very first truth that is uncovered, her morals leap to the forefront, dictating her reactions and changing her behaviour immediately to react to this new reality. Her naivety in expecting this same change in others says a lot about her character. In contrast, Lettle is much more pessimistic and bitter about the realities of the world around her. She embraces the changes with ease but also recognises that others will not be able to do the same.

I am excited to find out what happens when two worlds collide in book two, and Yeeran manages to take her new truths back to her people. My suspicion is that Lettle has the right attitude, and this will make for an explosive homecoming and a dangerous journey.

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