Beneath The Citadel by Destiny Soria

Beneath The Citadel plays with identity and memory to tell a riveting story of intrigue, revolution, and desperation. It's unapologetically queer in a way that feels like finally breathing, blending sweetness and exasperation to make an amazing ride.

I'm so happy this book exists, and I hope to read many more like it. The characters have complex relationships with each other that are informed by their queerness but not wholly defined by it. I only mentioned it so much because it feels amazing to read a story which doesn't treat straightness as a default. Another thing I haven't seen before is a teen friendship between former lovers where there's no jealousy about one of them moving on to exploring new relationships. I'm always looking at how YA books handle relationship triangles, and I like how this kind of dodges that entire premise while also keeping some of what makes that dynamic fascinating as a trope. As for the flow of the book, there's a really good mix of figuring out the tumult and constant stress of the main action, while also having quiet intimate moments where everyone gets a moment to breath and reassess.

I love the book, I love the premise, I love heist stories... I wish this were a series, but I also feel like it would be a betrayal of the conclusion of the book to try and have a related story in this space. It would be interesting to read more things in this world, but due to its nature as a portrayal of the last gasp of a dying and defunct societal paradigm, it's probably for the best that it's standalone.

CW for panic attacks, violence, child abuse, suicide, child death, major character death, death.

An enormous golden skull with a spiral staircase for a jaw sits between several pillars


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