10 must-read new YA book releases to make your December merry

Warmaidens by Kelly Coon. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
Warmaidens by Kelly Coon. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
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Warmaidens – Kelly Coon

The conclusion of Kelly Coon’s Gravemaidens duology, Warmaidens is a book with a  lot of ground to cover. It follows the story of Kammani, a young girl who wants nothing more than to become a healer in a society that undervalues women’s abilities. But when her sister is chosen to become a Sacred Maiden – one of three young women chosen to be killed and buried with a dead king upon his passing – her world falls apart.

Though she and the other gravemaidens manage to escape from near death at the end of the first book, Kammani finds herself with an even more difficult and dangerous task ahead: Going to war against the man who tried to entomb them.

Warmaidens begins just nine short months after Kammani’s escape, but she and the other women have made something of a life for themselves in the city-state of Manzazu. Kammanni has managed to establish herself as a healer in her own right at last, and the other former maidens – including her sister – are each forging a new life. But when their old one catches up with them, Kammanni realizes that there will never be peace – for them or their kingdom – until Alu’s ruler is overthrown.

The official synopsis has a few more details.

"Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage. But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found. Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war."

Warmaidens is available on December 15.