Perhaps not the best in the series; but it’s hard to resist the Woodcutters’ fluffy, eager-to-please charm. Monday’s story...

DEAREST

From the Enchanted series , Vol. 3

The Woodcutter sister with “a heart as big as the moon” meets her destiny in the third of the frothy fairy-tale series (Hero, 2013, etc.).

Empathetic Friday is as “loving and giving” as the old rhyme says, qualities desperately needed when an accidentally summoned ocean devastates the kingdom. She immediately puts her generous nature and enchanted needle at the service of the refugee children. Discovering that the seven swans on the palace grounds are actually enchanted royalty, she no sooner locks eyes with Prince Tristan than the pair fall instantly in love. Naturally, Friday devotes herself to helping their sister break the princes’ curse, and that’s when her troubles really begin….Once again, Kontis provides a sparkling mashup of familiar tales with a few original twists. Friday is an astonishingly sweet, optimistic and self-sacrificing heroine—the sort anyone would be lucky to know in real life—but unfortunately rather dull to read about. Since “[e]veryone loves” Friday, and she herself has a regrettable tendency toward serial crushes, it’s hard to understand what makes her predestined romance with generic Tristan particularly special. The narrative pace has an odd stop-and-start stutter, while the climactic turn toward the macabre with a (literal) deus ex machina conclusion feels over-the-top.

Perhaps not the best in the series; but it’s hard to resist the Woodcutters’ fluffy, eager-to-please charm. Monday’s story next, please? (Fantasy. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-07407-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.

THE BEAUTIFUL

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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