Capes Don’t Make the Hero


by Deva Fagan.

Written for younger readers, this story holds its own in the world of action and adventure with orphans, magic swords, princes, villains, fantastical machines, and an unlikely heroine.

Lark is a poor orphan who survives as a thief in Gallant, a world that runs on aethercraft. When she targets the Royal Museum as her next mark and encounters young Prince Jasper, she grabs his sword to ensure her escape. She isn’t expecting the sword to be magical and certainly never dreams that clutching its hilt would lead her to become the new Nightingale, the fabled hero destined to fight any villainous forces that threaten the safety and security of Gallant.

She hides her secret from her housemates and Miss Starvenger, their mean-spirited custodian. Only Jasper knows her true identity as Nightingale. At first, the menaces she faces are contained with the help of Prince Jasper. But then she stumbles upon something much more dangerous than wayward contraptions or rogue machines—an ancient menace that could destroy the lives of the people of Gallant.

Now, more than ever, the kingdom needs Nightingale to protect it from evil. Is Lark strong enough to step up and be the heroine Gallant needs?

“Nightingale” is a winner of the Texas Library Association’s 2022-2023 Texas Bluebonnet Award.
(Published in 2021 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.)

One of my favorite reads: “Nightingale,” a children’s fantasy adventure by Deva Fagan.