Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

 

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"An utterly inventive and wholly original debut.” — Booklist (starred review)
 

“With a dash of romantic entanglement, a rich original mythology, and a sizzler of a twist at the end, this duology opener will appeal to fans of female-centric fantasy by such authors as Leigh Bardugo and Sarah Maas.” - Kirkus Reviews
 

"Deftly drawn characters and a richly imagined fictional universe." — Publishers Weekly
 

“Fawcett brings snow-capped mountains—and their baleful secrets—alive in this magical, atmospheric debut.” - Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of The Crown's Game


“Cinematically vivid…immersive and absorbing.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“A deeply satisfying feast for fantasy lovers...I fell in love with this book from the earliest pages and have left the gnawed-off pieces of my heart scattered across the Aryas.” - Catherine Egan, author of Julia Vanishes


“A lush adventure filled with magic, myth, and monsters. Even the Darkest Stars will sweep you off your feet, steal your heart somewhere between the mountains and sky, and leave you breathless.” - Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of Fear the Drowning Deep and Reign of the Fallen