The second trilogy in Keira Gillett’s Zaria Fierce series is loaded with the epic battles, dragon fights, and complex relationships that have defined the series, but most important, the friendship between the core characters: Aleks, Zaria, Christoffer, Geirr, and Filip, the original group of friends from Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, have been through a lot together: kidnapping by trolls; magical fantasy worlds and the discovery that Zaria and Aleks are royalty within this magical realm; fantastic beasts (who always seem to know where to find them), and epic battles, just to name a few. In this last Aleks Mickelsen adventure, Fritjof, the chaos dragon, is still causing trouble in Niffelheim, and Aleks and his friends – the original gang, plus stag lord Henrik, Airi the raven, Aleks’s fey sister, Nori – are ready to take him down. If they can get through the army of dwarf ravagers on their trail and past the warring fey courts, that is.
Aleks continues to grow as a character in the Eighth Fox Throne War. Ever conflicted over whether to embrace his fey gifts or abandon them to remain human, he makes decisions based on the good of a people who don’t want him: he’s a changeling, and is on the receiving end of a lot of prejudice and anger. The fact that he’s king isn’t helping. There’s intrigue and war on a previously untold level here, so upper middle graders and middle schoolers are more the target audience for this series. The characters have grown up, are experiencing first love (Filip and Zaria, now Aleks and Saskia, a Winter Court fey and love interest), and are in fights for their lives and the lives of both Niffleheim and the modern world.
Relationships are at the heart of every Keira Gillett fantasy, and that’s what makes these books so good. The high fantasy aspects – the dragons, the epic conflicts, the grandiose ceremonies – they’re brilliant, but the emotion, the investment in these characters and their ties to one another, is what makes it all come together. Eoghan Kerrigan’s artwork is as fantastic as ever, bringing Keira Gillett’s incredible creatures and characters to life ; Kaitlin Statz’s maps help readers place themselves in the story.
Aleks Mickelsen and the Eighth Fox Throne War is a strong conclusion to another character arc in the Zaria Fierce series. Give this series to your high fantasy fans and watch them ask for more. (Ahem… nudge your Magnus Chase readers to explore this one!)
Author Keira Gillett is having a virtual book launch party on May 23 from 10:30-midnight! Put on your pajamas and join for a book reading, trivia, bingo, and a Q&A session!