By Jessica Best
A thief is framed for the emperor’s murder in this thrilling YA mystery set in space, perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Rae Carson. As an expert thief from a minor moon, Cass knows a good mark when she sees one. The emperor’s ball is her chance to steal a fortune for herself, her ailing father, and her scrappy crew of thieves and market vendors. Her plan is simple: Hitch a ride to the planet of Ouris, the dazzling heart of the empire. Sneak onto the royal palace station to attend the emperor’s ball. Steal from the rich, the royal, and the insufferable. But when the emperor is found dead, everyone in the palace is a suspect – and someone is setting Cass up to take the fall. To clear her name, Cass must work with an unlikely ally: a gorgeous and mysterious rebel with her own reasons for being on the station. Together, they unravel a secret that could change the fate of the empire. A GENRE-BENDING YA SFF READ WITH CROSSOVER APPEAL: Fans of YA science fiction and fantasy, such as The Darkness Outside Us and Iron Widow, will love this murder mystery set in space. It also holds crossover appeal for the newest generation of SFF readers, a diverse and socially conscious readership that enjoys books like Gideon the Ninth and the Wayfarers series. KNIVES OUT-STYLE INTRIGUE ON A SPACE PALACE: Shocking plot twists, vividly written worldbuilding, and deadly court intrigue make for a thrilling and delightfully fun whodunnit. RELATABLE NARRATOR WITH A SLOW BURN ROMANCE: Funny, voice-driven writing introduces readers to the science fiction setting and the romance that sparks as the plot thickens. QUEER CHARACTERS AND CURRENT SOCIAL THEMES: In an LGBTQ science fiction world, the queer main characters navigate an empire built upon colonialism and wealth inequality. AWARD-WINNING AUDIO DRAMA WRITER: Jessica Best is the writer behind the award-winning science fiction audio drama The Strange Case of Starship Iris, and a staff writer on Unwell: A Midwestern Gothic Mystery, which won Best Podcast at the 2021 BBC Audio Drama Awards.