Prophecies cause trouble, even if you don’t live in a fantasy world. In K. Berklund-Pagé’s The Caves of Fire, Canadian twelve-year-old children Daniel and Evie face terrible odds against Javerra, the murderous ruler of a shape-shifting realm. When Javerra kidnaps Daniel’s mom, the children embark on journey to rescue her. Meanwhile, Fee, a slave from the shape-shifting realm, is supposed to lure Daniel in—but finds he doesn’t want to. Can a slave say no? Fee and Daniel struggle with decisions as fully formed characters. Descriptions give a you-are-there flavor, and the world presents unique elements. This fantasy feels mostly dark because of overwhelming odds, until the somewhat puzzling but satisfying ending.
Best for: Readers age twelve and older who like fantasy tales.
Discern: A divine creator is mentioned once, and she is female. Both children directly disobey their parents without consequences.