Media Kit

Author Biography:

Nicki Pau Preto is a Sunday Times bestselling author living just outside of Toronto—though her dislike of hockey, snow, and geese makes her the worst Canadian in the country. She studied art and art history in university and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer full-time. She is the author of the Crown of Feathers trilogy, Bonesmith, and her forthcoming middle grade debut, The Last Hope School for Magical Delinquents.

Name Pronunciation: Pau Preto is my full surname, and is pronounced Pow-Prett-Oh

Author Headshot (click to download high res image):

Author photo by Jessi Rae Fournier


AN EMBER IN THE ASHES meets THREE DARK CROWNS in this lush debut fantasy novel about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join a secret group of warriors that ride phoenixes into battle.

Available now from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Foreign Territories Sold: UK/Australia (Ink Road), Germany (cbj), Russia (AST), Turkey (Yabanci Yayinlari), France (Lumen)
Named a White Pine Honours Book
Named a MYRCA Honours Book

Cover Artwork: (click to download high res image)

Jacket design by Sarah Creech. Jacket illustration © 2019 Kekai Kotaki.

Back Cover Copy:

I am a daughter of death
From the ashes I rose
Like a phoenix from the pyre

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary warriors who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider like the heroes of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

Crown of Feathers is an epic fantasy about love’s incredible power to save—or to destroy. Interspersed throughout is the story of Avalkyra Ashfire, the last Rider queen, who would rather see her empire burn than fall into her sister’s hands.


“A beautifully told story about justice, sisterhood, and warrior women. This richly woven world had me turning pages well into the night. Nicki Pau Preto is one to watch!”
– Shea Ernshaw, New York Times bestselling author of THE WICKED DEEP

“Set in a world of warrior queens and their fierce phoenixes, Nicki Pau Preto’s CROWN OF FEATHERS is absolutely unforgettable. It draws you in with the first flaming feather, and doesn’t let go. Fans of magical creatures, get in line, because I haven’t loved a phoenix this much since Dumbledore’s Fawkes. This is an instant favorite.”
– Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series

“A fierce and incendiary tale of warrior women, sisterhood, and the choices that define us, all set in a soaring new world that readers will fall in love with. I couldn’t put it down.”
– Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of the Last Magician series

“For readers who crave vivid world building and nuanced characters, CROWN OF FEATHERS is a feast of magic, action, and romance! An immersive, deeply satisfying fantasy that will stay with you long after the story is finished.”
– Elly Blake, New York Times Bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga

“The unique and imaginative world of the Phoenix Riders had my rapt attention from the first sentence. Nicki Pau Preto is a bright new talent, and I can’t wait to read more!”
– Morgan Rhodes, New York Times Bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series

Trade Reviews:

“An action-packed adventure that will leave fans of epic fantasies eager to find out more. The ending is the perfect setup for a sequel.”
– School Library Journal

“This is a new twist on fantasy favorites, and Pau Preto’s first novel is as ambitious as it is lyrical.”
– Booklist

“Debut author Pau Preto’s series opener steadily gathers steam before closing with a pulse-pounding crescendo.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

“The well-paced plot is chock-full of shocking revelations, betrayals, and moments of empowerment in the face of adversity that give this novel an epic scope and set up the beginning of a promising book series.”

“Crown of Feathers is epic in the truest sense; it draws on Game of Thrones-worthy military history and political machinations, weaving letters and historical documents into the narrative… it’s the perfect series kickoff.”
– Quill & Quire

Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to CROWN OF FEATHERS, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”

Available now from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Foreign Territories Sold: France (Lumen), Germany (cbj), Turkey (Yabanci Yayinlari)

Cover Artwork: (click to download high res image)

Jacket design by Tiara Iandiorio. Jacket illustration © 2020 Kekai Kotaki.

Back cover copy:

You are a daughter of queens.

The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.

Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.

Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.

Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.

As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.

I pray you are able to pass through the flames.

In the heart-stopping finale to the CROWN OF FEATHERS trilogy, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable,” Veronyka must face her most devastating enemy yet: her own sister.

Available now from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster
Foreign Territories Sold: France (Lumen), Turkey (Yabanci Yayinlari)

Cover Artwork: (click to download high res image)

Jacket design by Tiara Iandiorio. Jacket illustration © 2020 Kekai Kotaki.

Back cover copy:

I had a sister, once…

Veronyka is no longer an orphaned stable boy or a nameless Phoenix Rider apprentice: she is the daughter of Pheronia Ashfire, the last queen of the Golden Empire…and the niece of Avalkyra Ashfire, the resurrected rebel queen who tore the empire apart.

We shone brightly, burned fiercely.

Now that the secret is out, everyone at the Eyrie treats Veronyka differently, and with Tristan still a hostage of the scheming Lord Rolan—and Sev with him as a spy—Veronyka feels very much alone. Except for her beloved phoenix, Xephyra, of course, and her new friend, Kade, who has his own reasons for wanting to save Tristan.

Was it always going to come down to this? Sister against sister? Darkness against light?

Veronyka is determined to do whatever it takes to get Tristan back, even if that means revealing her identity to the world and inheriting a throne she’s not sure she wants. But when she discovers that Avalkyra has bonded with a strix—a legendary creature of darkness that feeds off the life force of others—Veronyka realizes she has more to deal with than an encroaching war with the empire. Val is willing to destroy everything to get her revenge on a world that rejected her, and if Veronyka wants to bring peace to the empire and Pyra alike, she must face down her sister once and for all.

The world began with Ashfire queens…perhaps they will also be its destruction.

GIDEON THE NINTH meets the GAME OF THRONES White Walkers in this dark young adult fantasy about a disgraced ghost-fighting warrior who must journey into a haunted wasteland to rescue a kidnapped prince.

Available now from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster
Foreign Territories Sold: UK (Hodderscape), France (Lumen), and more territories to be announced soon!
A Sunday Times bestseller in the UK
An Amazon Editor’s Pick for July
An Indigo Best Book of 2023
An Amazon Best Young Adult Book of 2023

Cover Artwork: (click to download high res image)

Jacket design by Greg Stadnyk. Jacket illustration © 2022 Tommy Arnold.

Back cover copy:

Ready your blade. Defeat the undead.

In the Dominions, the dead linger, violent and unpredictable, unless a bonesmith severs the ghost from its earthly remains. For bonesmith Wren, becoming a valkyr—a ghost-fighting warrior—is a chance to solidify her place in the noble House of Bone and impress her frequently absent father. But when sabotage causes Wren to fail her qualifying trial, she is banished to the Border Wall, the last line of defense against a wasteland called the Breach where the vicious dead roam unchecked.

Determined to reclaim her family’s respect, Wren gets her chance when a House of Gold prince is kidnapped and taken beyond the Wall. To prove she has what it takes to be a valkyr, Wren vows to cross the Breach and rescue the prince. But to do so, she’s forced into an uneasy alliance with one of the kidnappers—a fierce ironsmith called Julian from the exiled House of Iron, the very people who caused the Breach in the first place…and the House of Bone’s sworn enemy.

As they travel, Wren and Julian spend as much time fighting each other as they do the undead, but when they discover there’s more behind the kidnapping than either of them knew, they’ll need to work together to combat the real danger: a dark alliance that is brewing between the living and the undead.


“Pau Preto’s kaleidoscopic close-third-person narrative complements the swiftly paced, bombshell-strewn plot, which crescendos to an explosive finish.” – Publishers Weekly

“The actual world is unusual and memorable, with layers of horrific decisions compounding to have built a grim place where innocents are threatened by vicious undead and political machinations alike. Wren herself is headstrong and brave, driven first by a desperation to please her cold family but nonetheless obviously suited for the heroic role of valkyr. As the first volume of an intended duology, this will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment for a chance to dive back into this haunted world and see how Wren finds her own place within it.” – BCCB

“Wren’s impetuous personality carries readers through the opening chapters to the Breachfort and beyond, where mysteries about Wren’s family and birth begin to reveal themselves on an action-packed mission. Game of Thrones fans will see a number of plot points line up between Wren’s House of Bone and the Stark family. The romantic tension between Wren and Julian raises the stakes of the adventure, as does Wren’s growing friendship with the prince. Pau Preto’s character arcs are as carefully plotted as her adventures, exploring privilege, filial piety, and generational trauma.” – School Library Journal

“Filled with magic, betrayal, and undead horrors, Bonesmith will keep you turning pages as fast as you can––and sharpen your hunger for the next book. Wren’s journey through the dead-infested Breachlands is a thrilling adventure, one you don’t want to miss.” – Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling coauthor of MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE, author of NIGHTRENDER and THE ORPHAN QUEEN

“I’ve been dying for a YA novel with unique magic, and Bonesmith delivered it on a ghostly-green platter. With a fascinating world, absolutely delightful characters, and enemies-to-lovers romance—this book is one readers will devour before begging for more.” – Tricia Levenseller, New York Times bestselling author of Blade of Secrets

“Gripping and action-packed in its plot, tender yet fierce in its romance, haunting and gritty in its worldbuilding, Bonesmith is a dark fantasy thrillride from start to finish. Wren Graven is the perfectly stubborn, witty, and courageous heroine to navigate a world of ghosts and undead that will remain with readers long after the last page.” – Amélie Wen Zhao, author of Song of Silver, Flame like Night and the Blood Heir trilogy

“[An] eerie atmospheric read packed with action and betrayal.” – Rebecca Schaeffer, author of the critically acclaimed Market of Monsters series

In this action-packed finale to the House of the Dead Duology, Wren and her friends put everything they know to the test as they battle the living and the undead to save their world.

Available August 13, 2024 from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster
Foreign Territories Sold: UK (Hodderscape), France (Lumen), and more territories to be announced soon!

Cover Artwork: (click to download high res image)

Jacket design by Michael McCartney. Jacket illustration © 2022 Tommy Arnold.

Back cover copy:

Wren is still reeling from the revelation that the mother she thought was dead is actually the Corpse Queen, a ghostsmith with the terrifying power to control the undead. It was Wren’s own mother who created the iron revenants—an army of near unbeatable undead soldiers. When the iron revenants attack, no one in the Dominions will have the strength to stand in their way.

Now Wren, Leo, and Julian find themselves once more in the Breach, this time on the run from Wren’s father, who is determined to secure more power for himself and the House of Bone. The three are desperate to stop the upcoming war, but working together is easier said than done with Julian still furious about Wren double-crossing him. And to make matters worse, Wren is plagued by powerful new abilities that force her to reassess everything she knows about being a bonesmith.

When Wren’s long-lost twin brother shows up and vows to help her destroy the well of magic that feeds the iron revenants, she must decide if trusting him is worth potentially playing right into their mother’s hands.

After all, the dead might be dangerous, but it’s the living who can betray you.


“A solid duology closer that will satisfy returning fans.” – Kirkus Reviews

A middle grade magic school fantasy perfect for fans of THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL and WITCHLINGS, in which a girl with unparalleled power must work with her misfit classmates to save her new school.

Available October 1, 2024 from Viking Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House

Cover Artwork: (click to download high res image)

Jacket design by Lucia Baez. Jacket illustration James Firnhaber ©2024

Back cover copy:

Lavinia “Vin” Lucas is out of control and out of options. Stranded by parents who would rather use their average magical abilities to study dung beetles than raise her, Vin’s been on her own for years. But she’s never been able to corral her own powerful, unpredictable magic. After years of detention, suspension, and expulsion from magic schools far and wide, she’s now being sent to the Last Hope School for Magical Delinquents. If she gets expelled, it’s the end of the line.

Now, Vin is determined to behave. Except no one at Last Hope seems to want her to. Her new teachers—particularly the school’s kind headmistress—push her to explore her magic, and her mischievous classmates delight in every accident. And all the while, a mysterious fire sprite, a suspicious instructor, and her overwhelming abilities might just sabotage Vin. But for the first time, she is not alone.

So when a former student begins attacking the school, Vin must question just how much she knows about the headmistress and her new home. Is this place worth saving? And are her budding abilities—and every trick, trap, and deception in her friends’ delinquent arsenal—enough to protect Last Hope?


“The heart, humor, and hijinks of middle grade are at their best in The Last Hope School for Magical Delinquents. A story full of found family, magic, and learning to believe in yourself, it’s sure to appeal to fans of Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series.” – Kalyn Josephson, New York Times bestselling author of the Ravenfall series

“An absolute masterpiece full of breathless magic and charming characters. Readers will find the pages all but turning on their own as Nicki Pau Preto leads us from wonder to mystery and everything in between.” – Scott Reintgen, New York Times bestselling author of A Door in the Dark

“Brimming with magic, mystery, and heart, this story was an action-packed delight from start to finish. Vin is a lovable heroine worth rooting for, and Nicki Pau Preto delivers a fresh, fascinating new world that any reader—delinquent or not—would want to belong to.” – Jessica Khoury, Author of The Mystwick School of Musicraft and the Skyborn series


Publishers Weekly: Fall 2024 Children’s Sneak Previews
Chicago Public Library Best of 2023
Amazon’s Best Teen and Young Adult Books of 2023
Indigo’s Best Teen Books of 2023
Kirkus Reviews
Canadian Review of Materials
Publishers Weekly Review
Reading Zone: Bonesmith – The thrilling Sunday Times bestseller
Paste Magazine: Magic In Iron and Bone In Nicki Pau Preto’s Bonesmith
The Nerd Daily: Q&A with Nicki Pau Preto
Publishers Weekly: New and Noteworthy Children’s and YA Books – July 2023
CBC Books: 27 Canadian young adult books to read in spring 2023
SheReads: Most Anticipated YA Sci Fi & Fantasy Books in 2023
Publishers Weekly: Frankfurt Preview – Rights Center Buzz
Publishers Weekly: Q & A with Nicki Pau Preto
Goodreads: The Best New YA Books for July
Publishing Perspectives: Crown of Feathers’ WEBTOON Adaptation is featured
Forest of Reading Kid & Teen Committee: Red Maple Summer Reading List
Booktrib: All the Best Things Have Wings: 7 High-Flying Fantasy Adventures
Canadian Review of Materials highly recommends Wings of Shadow
CBC Books: 22 Canadian YA books to watch for in fall 2021
Publishers Weekly: Noteworthy YA Series Come to an End This Season
Goodreads: 33 Can’t-Wait Works of YA Speculative Fiction for Summer
49th Shelf: Ali Bryan’s Awesome YA Reading List
Crown of Feathers Nominated for 2021 MYRCA Northern Lights Award
Riveted Lit: The Best Books to Read After Binging The Witcher
Epic Reads: 39 YA Sequels You Won’t Want to Miss in the First Half of 2020
Shelf Awareness Image of the Day
Gizmodo: All the Brand-New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Need to Know About for February
Publishers Weekly: Noteworthy Novel Sequels: February 2020
Epic Reads: The 21 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in February
Indigo Best Books of 2019
Book Riot: 5 Of The Most Useful Animal Sidekicks In Fiction
Forbes: The Best Young Adult Fantasy Novels Of 2019
Epic Reads: 18 Books That Prove the Bond Between Sisters is Eternal
BookRiot: 15 Fantasy Books Like Throne of Glass
Goodreads: The Year’s Most Popular YA Debuts So Far
Heart of Flames: Paste Magazine Exclusive Cover Reveal
Crown of Feathers is an AudioFile Earphones Award Winner!
Epic Reads: 18 Books to Read While You Recover from the Epic Action of ‘Captain Marvel’
Global TV: The Morning Show
Paste Magazine: 10 of the Best Young Adult Books of February 2019
The Bookseller: Black & White buys first fantasy novel from Pau Preto
Book Riot’s 50 Must-Read Books By Debut Authors For January–June 2019
Epic Reads: The 18 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in February
Bookish: Winter 2019’s Most-Anticipated Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Crown of Feathers: Paste Magazine Exclusive Cover Reveal