An expansive, highly rewarding read.

SKY BREAKER

From the Night Spinner series , Vol. 2

On the heels of Night Spinner (2020), Enebish leads a ragtag band against the Sky King while Ghoa’s beliefs are challenged.

Although Night Spinner Enebish and newly awakened Sun Stoker Serik successfully led the desperate shepherds to Verdenet, finding the hiding king is far more difficult. Enebish’s psychological wounds from being betrayed in the past are still raw, resulting in behaviors that don’t do her any favors when dealing with her increasingly reluctant followers. In Ghoa’s parallel narration, she is forced to reckon with her own feelings of being betrayed, especially as Zemya’s trap springs into action and she takes the brunt of it. Enebish seeks out logical allies while Ghoa strikes an odd partnership, all the while keeping her eye on the prize. Uniting both storylines is the common enemy—Kartok—and the reveal of the full extent of his scheme. Their stories are gracefully balanced, enabling readers to explore more of the lavishly painted worldbuilding and internal mythologies. Characters’ past hurts inform their present decisions, good and bad, creating tension in relation to decisions of trust and forgiveness. The geopolitical situation blends well with the cultural. Ethnicity follows national lines, with Zemyans being very pale and blond; Verdenese like Enebish dark-haired with golden skin; and Ashkarians like Ghoa and her cousin, Serik (Enebish’s love interest in a sweetly romantic subplot), falling in between, with tanned skin and freckles. The conclusion thoroughly wraps up the duology.

An expansive, highly rewarding read. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64567-130-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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