Cattra’s Legacy by Anna Mackenzie, Longacre (Random House NZ)
Young adult author Anna Mackenzie follows up her post-apocalyptic series, The Sea-wreck Stranger Trilogy, with an absorbing story set in a vividly-imagined medieval fantasy world. Risha is bereft when her father dies and the local villagers banish her from her home. She sets off with a group of travelling traders in the hope of locating a relative - but all she has is a name. However she soon realises that some of the traders know more about her background than she does. Risha survives through a series of dangerous adventures, at the same time gradually discovering the secret of her birth. The book ends with Risha contemplating the sacrifices, hard work, and luck needed to claim her noble inheritance.
It’s the kind of book you don’t want to come to an end. Teenage readers will be swept along in the parade of hair-raising adventures, timely escapes, grim battles, and hidden secrets. Risha is an appealing and spirited heroine, and we follow her with interest as she develops her mental and physical skills, becomes close to a faithful supporter, and discovers in herself an eerie ability to communicate over distances. All these themes will be expanded in the sequel - I can’t wait!
ISBN 978-1-77553-318-4 RRP $19.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman