A bright spark of a promising series.

INFINITY SON

From the Infinity Cycle series , Vol. 1

Magic goes viral in Silvera’s (contributor: Color Outside the Lines, 2019, etc.) fantasy debut. But can it win a war?

For brothers Brighton and Emil, their 18th birthday is “off to a rough start.” The two dream of being celestials (people with magic abilities) but are reminded yet again that they’re “painfully ordinary.” Or are they? When potions dealers attack the brothers, Emil discovers that he has phoenix fire within. Brighton uploads a video of the fight online, propelling Emil—whom the celestial-obsessed dub “Fire-Wing”—to superstardom. The brothers find themselves caught in the crossfire between the heroic Spell Walkers, who fight for the end of celestial persecution, and the power-hungry Blood Casters, who gain magic by stealing it from creatures. With its raw, complex characters, Silvera’s latest packs his signature high-stakes emotionalism alongside a politically charged premise. The alternate New York City setting mixes current tech (e.g., virtual reality and Instagram) with magical tech (e.g., wands and gem-grenades) to create a richly contemporary urban landscape. Though Silvera mostly switches between Emil’s and Brighton’s strong, first person, present-tense narration, the perspectives of a Spell Walker and a Blood Caster are also magnified. The cast primarily consists of people of color, several of whom are also queer (including Emil, who is gay).

A bright spark of a promising series. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-245782-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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What should feel epic and romantic winds up dull and uninspired.

A THOUSAND HEARTBEATS

Star-crossed lovers are on opposing sides of an impending war.

Annika, the princess of Kadier, believes in the love of fairy tales but knows it’s not in her future since her father demanded she marry to secure a political alliance. Not too far from their kingdom, there is a growing army of those who believe Kadier rightfully belonged to their ancestors, and they plan to reclaim it. When stoic, hardened soldier Lennox is given the opportunity to prove himself, he makes a plan to sneak into the kingdom. Neither Annika nor Lennox is prepared for the ways their lives and those of everyone around them will forever be changed upon their meeting. They start as enemies, but their hearts have other ideas, and soon their love is impossible to ignore. This stand-alone fantasy romance shifts between the two protagonists’ points of view, giving readers access to the interior lives of both. Patience is required, as the tale is slow to start; it finds its footing eventually, but readers may find it to be too little, too late. Much of the narrative feels bloated with story yet hollow in characterization and emotional depth. Even moments meant to evoke big emotions, like important deaths or grand romantic gestures, wind up falling flat since there’s not enough substance to give them weight. Characters are assumed White.

What should feel epic and romantic winds up dull and uninspired. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-266578-2

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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A rush of emotion and suspense.

THE FIRST TO DIE AT THE END

Crowds gather across the United States for the launch of Death-Cast, a company that promises to change the world by predicting the deaths of everyone who subscribes in this prequel to They Both Die at the End (2017).

Orion Pagan, an aspiring author with a heart condition, hopes his phone won’t ring at midnight, but he knows Death-Cast’s call is coming soon. Unlike Orion, Valentino Prince, a model on the verge of his national debut, has no reason to anticipate Death-Cast’s call and isn’t sure if he believes the company’s claims. By coincidence or fate, their lives collide at a party in Times Square, and a single, historic phone call alters the courses of their futures. This heart-pounding story follows the final day of the first Decker, or person who is going to die, and the national chaos of Death-Cast’s premiere. Silvera crafts a web of intricately interconnected character perspectives and conflicts around Orion and Valentino. Apart from Valentino and his twin sister, who are presumed White, most of the characters are Latine, including White-passing Orion, whose family is Puerto Rican. The story confronts heavy topics like grief, abuse, and religious faith with complexity and care. Despite the presumed inevitability of a fatal end to the central romance between Orion and Valentino, Silvera subverts the trope of punishing gay characters with violent tragedy. Familiarity with the original book provides additional context and depth but isn’t essential to understanding the plot.

A rush of emotion and suspense. (Speculative fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-324080-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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