Far too lengthy for any but the most avid fans

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WAYFARER

From the Passenger series , Vol. 2

Star-crossed time-traveling lovers Etta and Nicholas, now separated, try to find each other in adventures across the world and history in this continuation of Passenger (2016).

Bracken plunges right in, filling in back story as she goes. Etta is a white violin prodigy who learns that she comes from a family of time travelers. She is in love with Nicholas, a biracial ex-slave. Both are searching for Cyrus Ironwood, master time traveler, who pursues the elusive astrolabe that will allow him complete control over time travel. Nicholas and Etta also want to find the astrolabe, but mostly they want to find each other again. They travel separately with various companions through such places as the Vatican in 1499 and Carthage in 148 B.C.E., experiencing real history. However, time travel can affect reality. They also visit New York in 1939, which turns out to be languishing in an alternate history of war and destruction, and Petrograd in 1919, in which Czar Nicholas II still lives. Nicholas’ bad deal with a witch injects some tension: if he doesn't kill Cyrus, he will eventually die by poison. After many trips to many different places and times, everyone meets to try to win the astrolabe. Despite the many historical sites and periods visited, Bracken focuses on the adventure and the romance, which mostly consists of the lovers pining for each other.

Far too lengthy for any but the most avid fans . (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-1576-5

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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