by Esme Symes-Smith
In a magical medieval world filled with dragons, shape-shifters, and witches, a twelve-year-old nonbinary hopeful knight battles for the heart of their kingdom. A thrilling middle-grade series opener that explores identity and gender amid sword fights and magic, and proves anyone can be a hero.
When their ex-hero dad is summoned back to the royal capital of Helston to train a hopeless crown prince, Callie lunges at the opportunity to finally prove themself worthy to the kingdom's "great and powerful." Except the intolerant great and powerful look at nonbinary Callie and only see girl. But Callie has always known exactly what they want to be, and they're not about to let anything stand in their way.
Trapped in Helston's rigid hierarchy where girls learn magic and boys train as knights, Callie discovers they aren't alone--there's Elowen, the chancellor's brilliant daughter, whose unparalleled power is being stifled; Edwyn, Elowen's twin brother desperate to win his father's approval; and Willow, the crown prince who was never meant to be king.
In this start to an epic series packed with action, humor, and heart, Callie and their new friends quickly find themselves embedded in an ancient war--and their only hope to defeat the threats outside the kingdom lies in first defeating the bigotry within.
Target age: 8 to 12
"Everything you could possibly want from a middle grade fantasy....Fierce, sharp-witted and unapologetically queer." -- The Nerd Daily
"A can't-miss, one-of-a-kind (for now!) page-turner, bursting with heart... Among the best of the year--and a debut, no less." -- Booklist, starred review
"Symes-Smith has forged a razor-sharp story of bravery, emotional resilience, deep honor, and adventure!" -- Ash Van Otterloo, author of Cattywampus
"Sir Callie is the hero I needed while growing up, and I am so grateful this story exists for kids today." -- H.E Edgmon, Author of The Witch King
About the Author:
Esme Symes-Smith grew up on a steady diet of fan fiction in the Southwest of England, wandered north to Wales for their degree in literature and creative writing, then promptly migrated to Missouri after meeting their wife on Tumblr. Esme has been a ghostwriter, an editor, a frozen-yogurt seller, and a caffeine purveyor. They now wrangle preschoolers for a living and have a severe tea problem.