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A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
Cover of A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying Series, Book 1
Monster hunting isn't for the faint of heart — the first in a brand-new middle-grade series by NYT bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong.
Twelve-year-old Rowan is destined to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the oldest child is always next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her monster hunting aunt's glorious sword and joining her queen mother for boring diplomatic teas. But tragedy shatters the longstanding rule, and Rowan finds herself hunting the most dangerous monster of all: a gryphon.
Accompanied by a feisty baby jackalope and a giant wolf that barely tolerates her, Rowan sets off on a journey that will see her join other unlikely allies: a boy with monster-hunting ambitions of his own, and a girl hiding dangerous motives. It will take all of Rowan's skills, both physical and diplomatic, to keep this adventure on track. The future of her kingdom depends on it.
Monster hunting isn't for the faint of heart — the first in a brand-new middle-grade series by NYT bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong.
Twelve-year-old Rowan is destined to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the oldest child is always next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her monster hunting aunt's glorious sword and joining her queen mother for boring diplomatic teas. But tragedy shatters the longstanding rule, and Rowan finds herself hunting the most dangerous monster of all: a gryphon.
Accompanied by a feisty baby jackalope and a giant wolf that barely tolerates her, Rowan sets off on a journey that will see her join other unlikely allies: a boy with monster-hunting ambitions of his own, and a girl hiding dangerous motives. It will take all of Rowan's skills, both physical and diplomatic, to keep this adventure on track. The future of her kingdom depends on it.
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  • Kindle Book
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Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.2
  • Lexile:
    610
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    2 - 3

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book "I know you love unicorns, Rowan, but please stop staring at mine. You're making him nervous.
    "I do not love unicorns, as my aunt Jannah knows. Jerks. All of them. I'm not staring at Courtois. I'm staring him down. Unfortunately, she's wrong about the third part, too. I can't make him nervous, no matter how hard I try.
    We're in the castle courtyard, the high stone walls stealing the morning sun. Around us, the royal hunters prepare for their mission. A mission I should be joining. My twin brother, Rhydd, is and I belong at his side, keeping him safe.
    As I scowl at Courtois, Rhydd's hand thumps on my shoulder. "Give it up, Ro."
    "That beast stepped on my foot," I say. "On purpose."
    "Yep, I'm sure he did. He is a unicorn."
    I move away from Courtois only to stumble over my aunt's warg, Malric. The giant wolf lifts his head, upper lip curling to reveal canines as long as my hand. The last person who tried to pet him lost two fingers. Even I know better. I quickstep out of his reach.
    "Making friends with all the monsters this morning, aren't you?" Rhydd teases.
    As I grumble, he leans in to whisper, "I know you're upset. You're worried about me going on the gryphon hunt."
    "I'm not wor—"
    "You're worried, and this is how you show it. By grumbling and scowling and staring down unicorns."
    "It's not fair."
    "I know," he says.
    My scowl deepens, and I want to kick the dirt and growl and stomp. That would be childish, though, and I am not a child. I'm twelve. I'm a princess. One day, I'll be queen.
    I don't want to be queen. I'll be horrible at it. Rhydd should get the throne. Even now, as scared as he is, he's trying to calm me. That's what a real leader does.
    "Rhydd?" Jannah calls. "Saddle up."
    As Jannah climbs onto Courtois, her sheathed sword swings by her side. I look at that sword, a gleaming ebony-wood center with a razor-sharp obsidian edge. I imagine it in my hands, and a lump rises in my throat.
    This is who I want to be. This is who I should be. Not the queen, but the royal monster hunter. Everyone knows it. I hear the whispers, how my thoughtful brother should sit on the ivory throne, how his headstrong twin sister should wield the ebony sword.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2019
    A young princess would rather hunt monsters than sit on a throne but soon finds that she has a lot to learn if she is going to save her kingdom. In each generation of Tamerel's royal clan, the firstborn inherits the throne to become monarch and the secondborn inherits the sword to become royal monster hunter. Twelve-year-old Rowan will be queen, and her twin brother, Rhydd, will wield the sword. There's only one problem--each of them is far better suited to the other's role. Despite her natural monster-hunting gifts, Rowan is resigned to be the best queen she can, though that doesn't stop her from learning all she can about monsters and following her brother on hunts. But when tragedy strikes the family, royal roles are thrown out the window, and with the fate of the kingdom hanging in the balance, Rowan must hunt down one of the deadliest monsters of all or lose everything. Longtime master of YA thrills Armstrong (Aftermath, 2018, etc.) now brings her talent for frissons, drama, and dark humor to middle-grade fantasy. The primary plot is driven by equal parts hunt-or-be-hunted action, character motivations, and unexpected emotional depth. And in the background simmers political intrigue, personal ambition, and looming upheaval bound to spill over into the sequel. Rowan and Rhydd are children of color, and the world they inhabit is an inclusive one. An illustrated monster field guide appears in the backmatter. A rousing romp for monster hunters and monster lovers alike. (Fantasy. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from July 1, 2019

    Gr 4-6-Rowan and Rhydd were born to greatness; as twin siblings of the queen and a monster hunter, their roles in the kingdom were determined at birth. Because Rowan is the firstborn she must be Queen, while her brother Rhydd trains to become the Royal Monster Hunter with their aunt Janna-roles they would very much like to be reversed. When Rowan sneaks out to help her brother hunt a gryphon, the very same monster that killed her father, she witnesses her beloved aunt's gruesome death by the creature. But, before she dies, Janna grants her a gift: a way to override the rule that forces Rowan and Rhydd into their traditional roles. Rhydd severely injured his leg in the fight, and his current limited mobility allows them to switch places. When an ambitious relative tries to muck up the plans and send Rowan on a path that can only end in her death, she surprises everyone with her bravery and her wit. Duty and the responsibility that accompanies it are explored through Rowan and Rhydd's journey; sometimes it is harder to do the thing that comes easiest to you. Thrilling action scenes are balanced with emotionally resonant moments showcasing Rowan and Rhydd's close relationship and Rowan building tentative new friendships with the unlikely companions she meets on her quest. VERDICT Give this to any fantasy and adventure fan ready for a fast and fun read, a great read-a-like for Tamora Pierce's "Tortall" series.-Sara Brunkhorst, Glenview Public Library, IL

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 19, 2019
    As the oldest child, Rowan, 12, has always known she’d be Queen, but she envies her twin brother, Rhydd, who is in line to become Royal Monster Hunter (but would make a better consort). Nevertheless, she spends her time learning about myriad creatures. However, after their Aunt Jannah is slain in a gryphon attack, just as their father was, and Rhydd is badly injured, Rowan must step into the role she’s always dreamed of fulfilling. Accompanied by a jackalope and an enormous wolf, Rowan sets out to find the person who can help train her for the monumental task ahead: to fight and slay the gryphon. As she forges unlikely friendships and alliances, she develops a growing understanding of her weighty responsibility to her people while seeking to understand and respect the monsters she hunts, doing as little harm as possible. Weaving in themes of family, duty, and conservation, YA author Armstrong (the Darkness Rising trilogy) offers a gripping middle grade debut in an imaginative fantasy world populated by fascinating creatures. Readers will hope that there is more planned for Rowan and her growing entourage of monsters and misfits. A monster field guide concludes. Ages 10–14.

  • Booklist

    July 1, 2019
    Grades 5-8 Twelve-year-old Rowan is a princess destined for political life on the throne, despite being better suited to the role of monster hunter. Hers is an Arthurian world where several brown-skinned clans are united under the protection of Rowan's mother, the queen. It's also a world populated by a menagerie of fantastical beasts, the most fearsome being the gryphon. After a clash with this terrible monster?awesomely rendered in savage glory?tragedy befalls Rowan's family. Suddenly, she's next in line to be the royal monster hunter, but first she must go forth on a quest to slay the rogue gryphon. All of Armstrong's choices are made in service of absorbing entertainment, to great success. She avoids the archaic in favor of modern language that kids will appreciate, and while the combat sometimes comes off as slightly cartoonish, she doesn't shy away from violence. Blood flies and bones crunch, though humane treatment of animals is promoted. This is an action-stuffed, perfectly paced adventure that introduces a world to which thrill-seeking readers will be ravenous to return. Happily, sequels will follow.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying Series, Book 1
Kelley Armstrong
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