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Children's LiteratureMoralin, a highborn Delagua woman, secretly learns the art of combat. As females are not permitted on the fighting grounds, this secret is closely guarded. On the eve of the ceremony for her to move into womanhood she and three other girls leave the protective walls of their city. They enter into an unknown, dangerous world where they are captured by the Arkera people. Afraid, but determined, Moralin draws on the wisdom she had been taught by Old Tamlin and pretends to go along with the Arkers while planning her escape. The Arkera people assign Figt to watch her, and over time the two girls become good friends. As the story progresses, Moralin faces many choices and ultimately both she and Figt must face death for one another. This book is an excellent fantasy and has all the elements to make it extremely popular with young adults, especially girls. It is fast paced, with an intricate plot, and excellent character development. The characters in this book are strong and the underlying theme is how greed and selfishness can destroy. Moralin learns about herself, her people, and others by opening her mind and using the wisdom she had been taught. I highly recommend this book for young adults and it should be added to a classroom library. Girls, if you haven't ever read a book of fantasy, this would be a good one to start with. 2004, Greenwillow Books, Ages 11 to 14.
—Kathie M. Josephs