This was so good, we bought it!
Don't let the cover fool you. This is an upper middle grade story, with a mature and even, at times, dark tone. The main character feels and acts more like a 14-year-old, which are extremely rare creatures in MG and YA, and not the 12 tender years she's supposed to possess -- but we loved it anyway.
Rowan was born minutes before her brother, Rhydd, and for that reason she's supposed to become queen and her brother, the realm's monster hunter. But every time her brother goes out on a hunt, her heart beats for the adventure.
When the ultimate predator -- a griffin -- shows up and her brother is sent to fight it, she sneaks out of the castle to join him, because she knows, deep in her heart, she's the better sword fighter and better hunter overall and he'll need her to keep him safe. A griffin killed their father, the previous royal monster slayer, many years before.
She's unfortunately more right that she could have guessed. They slay a manticore and think the danger's over; it was a case of mistaken monster identity.
And then the griffin strikes.
Once Rowan's in its grasp, can she escape its clutches? And if she does survive, can she learn enough about griffins to do more than just kill them? Can she make sure they're not a threat to the realm's villagers, once and for all?
I won't spoil the plot twist, but know, it's a great story. I absolutely delighted in the how the griffins are portrayed as incredible apex predators neither good nor evil, just ...predatory. My daughter loved the story as well.
We've put her YA works on hold at our public library, and hope to be able to read and review them soon!