By Carrie Mac. Puffin Canada, 306 pp, $25
Vancouver's Carrie Mac returns with the second thrilling book in the Triskelia trilogy, about the hard-fought battle between the Droughtlanders and their cruel overlords, the Keylanders. Still preparing for revolution in Book 2, the Droughtlander rebels here flee their previous havens while our three heroes grapple with the many paths to revenge. Mac's scenes pulse with life and amazing images, and the siblings' various choices as to how to bring down the oligarchy (by friends, by soldiers, by God) mean she's set up the final book for a fascinating conflict and any number of plot twists.
If Retribution has a fault, it's that the Droughtlands' violence and squalor are too convincing. Worlds of fantasy must be as logical and coherent as any other, yes, but Mac goes so far in establishing the terrible life that the unfortunate majority must endure shooting galleries, whorehouses, and maggot-covered cadavers, among other things that it feels more like an adult book about kids. Read with caution. Suggested ages: 15 and up.