THE GODDESS TEST

Propelled by its high concept—ancient Greek deities, reality TV plot—this romance-series debut starts promisingly but soon sinks into a queasy blend of genres with cardboard characters and interchangeable deities. Manhattanite Kate Winters, 18, has relocated to Eden, Mich., where her ailing mother wants to live out her last days in her hometown. At her new school, Kate encounters two instantly besotted guys and one jealous mean girl, Ava, who abruptly dies in a freak accident on the way to a party she’s manipulated Kate into attending. Enter the mysterious Henry, aka Hades, who offers to restore Ava to life if Kate will take his ex-wife Persephone’s place. Having inexplicably bonded with vapid Ava, Kate agrees, although it means spending six months a year in the underworld. Her light sentence is carried out in a halfway house between worlds, where she enjoys dressing up, being waited on, taking Greek Deities 101 and falling for the tortured Henry. But it’s not all guys and parties; Kate must pass seven pantheon-administered “tests” in order to win the prize (Henry and immortality); if she loses, Henry will fade. That plus agonizing over whether he loves her occupy her abundant spare time. Better takes on this familiar paradigm abound. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-373-21026-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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

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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