Tribute is a terrific new fantasy novel by Ellen Renner. It’s another one for my best-of list in December, and I’m so excited I don’t know what to do about waiting for the sequel. There has been no mention of a sequel, but there has to be one. And in my opinion Ellen should be a household name. She obviously is in this household, but I would like her to be really famous. And rich. Not that I imagine she could write faster with more money, but still.
A Tribute is a slave belonging to a Mage, and Zara was given Swift when she was a child, and then her father, the Archmage, killed her Tribute when they became too friendly. Her revenge was to join the resistance, the Knowledge Seekers, giving them information about the ruling Mages.
As with so many magical settings, it doesn’t help that a character can do all sorts of magic, like entering the mind of animals – and sometimes of people – flying, and so on. Because whatever you can do, someone else can do to you. And the Archmage is more than happy to do the most unspeakable things, which is why Zara hates him.
When her father takes a hostage from another group of people, Zara ends up needing to do a lot more. She has to break with the Mages and go against her own people and join forces with the others, where not all are sympathetic to a Mage joining them.
This is civil war, it is slaughter of hundreds of innocent people. It is very cruel. But it is also a tale of friendship and trust across boundaries between different people. It’s very exciting, and not everything has been resolved by the end of the book. Hence my impatience.
(Once I’d stopped moaning quite so much, I discovered that there is a sequel titled Outcaste coming in August. It looks like August this year. Yippee!!)