From the world of Legacy and the Queen comes EPOCA: The Tree of Ecrof, the newest story from Granity. Written by Ivy Pochoda, a former collegiate athlete herself, under the name Ivy Claire, EPOCA focuses on Pretia and Rovi, two runners who begin attending the most prestigious school for athletes in the nation. Throughout the course of their first year, it becomes evident that there are dark forces at play at the school, and they must work together and harness their talents to protect their world.
Like its predecessor, the main characters of EPOCA are considered outcasts; Pretia is a princess, and although she wants to form relationships with her peers, they often view her as being separate from them. As a member of a royal family, she is expected to become a great athlete and develop her grana, the magical power that is harnessed through channeling one’s emotions. However, her power seems to be absent, and she is shown going to risky lengths for it to appear. This is a reflection of how young people often long to feel special or like they’re a part of something, especially when it seems like everyone around them has a talent. Pretia’s actions haunt her for much of the book, and end up being linked to the main plot.
In contrast, Rovi does not come from a royal background, and in his introductory chapter, it is revealed that he steals and otherwise lives on the outskirts of society. Once it is discovered that he is a skilled runner, he is selected to attend Ecrof Academy alongside Pretia. Rovi’s family ties have both shaped his worldview and his reputation at the academy, and later on, he learns something shocking about a family member that plays an important role in the story. The book is equally divided into Pretia and Rovi’s perspectives, and Pochoda does a brilliant job of developing each character’s unique voices.
The book’s title stems from a major plotline – the trees in Ecrof are dying of an unknown cause, including the eponymous Tree of Ecrof. Pretia and Rovi, as well as the rest of their classmates, band together to solve the mystery and protect all that they know and love.
EPOCA continues Granity’s goal of encouraging readers to remain in touch with their emotions and recognize their own unique abilities. The company, which was formed by former NBA athlete Kobe Bryant, produces content primarily to inspire young athletes, especially those from marginalized backgrounds. “For us, for the studio, it is trying to connect important messages that we want our youth to understand, to grow and evolve with,” Bryant told Forbes in September.
Additionally, each project attempts to convey messages to its readers through the elaborate worlds created by each. Pretia’s aforementioned “missing” power turns out to be the ability to step outside of herself, which can be seen as encouraging humility, empathy, and the ability to self-reflect.
Overall, EPOCA is an enthralling read and would be a worthwhile investment for any young reader, athlete or non-athlete.
Rating: 5 stars
Like Legacy and the Queen, EPOCA comes with a visual experience for readers; while the former had disappearing ink and flip art, this release has vibrantly colored pages representing various emotions. Phylicia Rashad also reprises her role as the audiobook’s narrator.
You can purchase EPOCA through Bookshop or other book retailers.
Featured image via Amazon