THE ANTIDOTE, by Shelley Sackier , HarperTeen, Feb. 5, 2019, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
The Antidote, by Shelley Sackier, is a standalone YA fantasy that came as a pleasant surprise.
In the world of healers, there is no room for magic.
Fee knows this, just as certainly as she knows that her magic must be kept secret.
But the crown prince Xavi, Fee’s best friend and only source of comfort, is sick. So sick, that Fee can barely contain the magic lying dormant inside her. She could use it, just a little, to heal him. But magic comes at a deadly cost — and attracts those who would seek to snuff it out forever.
A wisp of a spell later, Fee finds herself caught in a whirl of secret motivations and dark pasts, where no one is who — or what — they appear to be. And saving her best friend means delving deeper into the tempting and treacherous world whose call she’s long resisted — uncovering a secret that will change everything. —Synopsis provided by HarperTeen
When I read The Antidote, I did not want to put it down — I think I read it in two sittings. So I was surprised to read some reviews saying things weren’t fleshed out enough and that the ending felt rushed. At 368 pages, the book is a decent length but shorter than a lot of fantasy novels, especially standalones. That said, I never felt like I wasn’t given enough information. No, not everything is spelled out for readers, but I think the book is better for it. It gave me room to be an active participant.
One of The Antidote’s strengths is the relationship between Fee and Xavi. The two are so close, they’re almost brother and sister. There’s no love story here, just a deep friendship that’s a breath of fresh air.
There are a lot of twists and turns throughout The Antidote, making it feel like a mystery set in a new world. There are magical elements, though not as heavily as some might want.
The Antidote is a strong YA read that easily warrants 4 stars.
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