This golden flame / Emily Victoria.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: "Orphaned and forced to serve her country's ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don't matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army. In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible--she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father--their nation's greatest traitor--once tried to destroy the automatons. Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn't just trying to control Karis; it's hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother...and the secret that's held her country in its power for centuries."--Amazon.
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Booklist Reviews 2020 December #2

Since being forced to be an acolyte for the rune scholars on Eratia seven years ago, all Karis has wanted to do is escape to find her brother, Matthias. She gets the chance when she awakens Alix, an automaton unlike any other on the island; he is human-sized instead of giant, he's gentle, and—most stunning of all—he is alive and sentient. Asleep for two centuries, Alix doesn't remember why he was created, but the Scriptmasters want to harness his magic. With Karis' friend Dane, Alix and Karis flee Eratia to find Matthias and uncover Alix's purpose. Victoria's dual point-of-view fantasy debut is rich with empathy and self-discovery, leading readers from Karis' quiet thoughts to Alix's actions, which, despite his being an automaton, are irrefutably human. It's rare to find a YA novel without some kind of romance component, but asexual Karis' journey is engrossing enough to drive the story forward. Though with automatons, rune magic, and even pirates at its helm, this standalone suffers from a lack of concentration, its redemption lies in the observations about the human condition and independence underscoring the plot. Grades 8-11. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.