An ambitious entry in a series that continues to improve.

INFINITY REAPER

From the Infinity Cycle series , Vol. 2

The war between the Spell Walkers and Blood Casters rages on.

This fast-paced sequel to Infinity Son (2020) starts with Brighton drinking Reaper’s Blood, an elixir that might give him the powers he so desperately craves. Meanwhile, his brother, Emil, is in critical condition after trying to prevent the elixir from being made. As the brothers regroup and recover, celestial-hating Sen. Iron coerces his son, Ness, to use his shape-shifting abilities to impersonate and further stigmatize gleamcrafters. Maribelle tracks down her lover’s murderer to exact revenge. Despite their different methods, the Spell Walkers each share the goal of finding a way to defeat the Blood Casters and right the world. But as Brighton’s new powers manifest, his views on those heroics start to change. Can they still save the world? First-person narration jumps between the same four characters from the first book but delves even deeper into their individual stories. Silvera also adds the sizzle of sexual tension as the brothers each navigate feelings for their respective crushes—and for Emil, a new boy further complicates things. Aided by a necessary glossary, the ambitious worldbuilding expands to include even more magical parallels to real-life America (e.g., wand violence, enforcer reform, and alternative facts). The cast continues to be mostly brown-skinned and/or queer. Another cliffhanger ending adds to the anticipation for the final book in the planned trilogy.

An ambitious entry in a series that continues to improve. (dramatis personae) (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-288231-8

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: today

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A wild ride both fantastical and grounded in nuance.

RULE OF WOLVES

From the King of Scars Duology series , Vol. 2

Following King of Scars (2019), the world’s a powder keg of political hostilities and existential threats.

In a juggling act between viewpoint characters, readers follow far-ranging intrigues inside countries, between countries, and between individuals. King Nikolai faces imminent threats from Fjerda, rumors of his bastardy that threaten to dethrone him, complicated trade relations with both Zemeni and Kerch, and an engagement to Princess Ehri of Shu Han—despite her sister, Queen Makhi, having schemed to kill both of them. Zoya, Nikolai’s loyal general, is handed a series of nigh-impossible assignments, including some having to do with the Darkling. Meanwhile, deeply embedded Nina spies on Fjerda, working to undermine the rumors surrounding Nikolai’s parentage, uncover Fjerda’s military plans, manipulate their royals toward a more peaceful path, and secretly sway the population’s view of Grisha. And all over the world, a mysterious blight suddenly appears, destroying everything in its path. Sprinklings of recaps and lots of action help to prevent the massively intricate world from becoming overwhelming. Battles in particular shine, not just for their action, but for the questions they pose about the direction of warfare in an arms race. The multiethnic cast that includes queer characters and relationships showcases a White-passing biracial character grappling with identity and another character’s trans-coded journey. A big finish manages to tidy up almost all ends but still leaves space for more to come.

A wild ride both fantastical and grounded in nuance. (Orders of Grisha guide, map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-14230-6

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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