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Crown of oblivion
2019
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Summary

In this mesmerizing YA fantasy mash-up of The Road meets The Amazing Race, one girl chooses to risk her life in a cutthroat competition in order to win her freedom.

In Lanoria, Outsiders, who don't have magic, are inferior to Enchanteds, who do. That's just a fact for Astrid, an Outsider who is indentured to pay off her family's debts. She serves as the surrogate for the princess--if Renya steps out of line, Astrid is the one who bears the punishment for it.

But there is a way out: the life-or-death Race of Oblivion. First, racers are dosed with the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memories. Then, when they awake in the middle of nowhere, only cryptic clues--and a sheer will to live--will lead them through treacherous terrain full of opponents who wouldn't think twice about killing each other to get ahead.

But what throws Astrid the most is what she never expected to encounter in this race. A familiar face she can't place. Secret powers she shouldn't have. And a confusing memory of the past that, if real, could mean the undoing of the entire social structure that has kept her a slave her entire life.

Competing could mean death...but it could also mean freedom.

Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 6 Up--Astrid is working as the surrogate to princess Reyna, meaning that anytime Reyna steps out of line it is Astrid who gets punished. Astrid is an Outsider; she lives to serve others with magical abilities, trying to help Reyna pay off her family's debt. As an Outsider, The Race of Oblivion--a way to gain full citizenship--is the only way to change Astrid's life. The racers' memories are erased and they are thrown into the middle of nowhere; their task is to follow a set of clues to lead them to the finish line. Astrid is written as a strong, determined female protagonist. Through the race she discovers that she has magical abilities that she never knew about. This dystopian novel is packed with action and has strong political undertones. Eshbaugh does a phenomenal job at describing the setting, making it easy to follow what is happening in the story. VERDICT Having similar tones and themes to Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, this book would be enjoyed by those who like dystopian-themed novels.--Gilly Yildiz, Eisenhower Public Library, Harwood Heights, IL
Booklist Review
Life is harsh for indentured people in Lanoria and worse for Astrid, the whipping girl punished for Princess Reyna's many transgressions. It's rare to work off the indenture, so, instead, many folks attempt the deadly Race of Oblivion, where the winner and their family receive citizenship and a change of status. Astrid impetuously enters the competition and, like every contestant, has her memories temporarily erased but not before she witnesses the king's murder. She's racing for her life, her remaining family, and perhaps one of her hauntingly familiar fellow contestants. Eshbaugh situates this fantasy-tinged action novel in a somewhat confusing world of technology (e.g., tracking devices), medieval trappings (a castle with knights), magic, and occasional contemporary idiomatic speech. The focus is primarily on Astrid's physical experience of the race and secondarily on her growing self-awareness. There's a hint of romance and fodder for discussions about bystander responsibilities, as well as the impact of emotional ties. Try this with fans of James Dashner's Maze Runner series for the nature of the race.--Cindy Welch Copyright 2019 Booklist
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