Readers will want to join Qole’s crew.

SHADOW RUN

A hotshot spaceship captain and a corporate space-prince find common enemies and aligning goals.

So far in the future that even after the Great Collapse of technology humanity still travels the stars, Qole’s the youngest and best captain at the cold, nearly barren outpost planet where the big industry is Shadow fishing—a dangerous technique of harvesting the powerful energy known as Shadow. But the long-term buildup of Shadow passed down through families and from exposure causes Shadow poisoning, which causes some to experience greatness before the inevitable madness and death. Nev, prince and heir to the planet controlling their system, disguises himself to join Qole’s crew to get close to her; he thinks she’s the key to unlocking safe use of Shadow, which would further enrich his family, as well as curing Shadow poisoning. But first he has to convince her as well as to avoid a rival family that seeks to overtake his own by hijacking their research through violence. As the plot twists through action scenes, Nev and Qole develop romantic feelings despite their differences. In contrast to pale-skinned Nev, Qole (and half her crew) is a member of a dark-skinned minority, and complicated racial dynamics are discussed from their viewpoint, intermingled with conversations about economic privilege. A side character is genderqueer without fuss and enjoys a romantic storyline. The ending leaves room for future stories.

Readers will want to join Qole’s crew. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55253-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener.

DEFY THE NIGHT

The only effective treatment for the lethal fever that plagues Kandala is a potion derived from the rare Moonflower.

Medicine is allocated to each sector of the kingdom by the decree of King Harristan, but the supply is limited. Thieves, smugglers, and black marketeers are subject to punishment and execution overseen by the cruel Prince Corrick in his role as the King’s Justice. Like many in Kandala, Tessa Cade loathes the king and his younger brother for ignoring the plight of those who cannot afford treatment. With the help of her close friend Weston, the 18-year-old apothecary’s assistant steals Moonflower petals from the wealthy and makes potions to distribute among the poor. Soon after Wes is caught by the night patrol, Tessa is presented with an opportunity to sneak into the palace. She enters with the intention of taking a sample of the palace’s potent Moonflower elixir only to be captured and brought before Prince Corrick, who, Tessa discovers, might not be as heartless as she originally believed. The slow-burn romance—between an idealist with straightforward moral beliefs and a pragmatist trapped by duty—will keep the pages turning, as will the scheming of the king’s consuls and the rebellion brewing in the background. Tessa and Corrick are cued White; other characters’ skin colors range from beige to deep brown.

The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener. (map, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0466-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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