The message never overwhelms the fun in this frothy paranormal romp

READ REVIEW

DEMONOSITY

With her usual wit and humor, Ashby (Fairy Bad Day, 2011) takes on the question of how to make the right decision.

No one ever said growing up was easy. For 16-year-old Cassidy Carter-Lewis, things are pretty complicated. Her dad’s just home from knee surgery, her mom’s just moved back in (but is usually at work), her faithless ex-boyfriend is hassling her, and now she’s being pressured to try out for a part in the school play, which is totally not her scene. So when she finds out that she’s supposed to be the guardian of the Black Rose (whatever that is) and has to learn sword fighting and start killing demons, it’s all a bit much. On top of all that, she’s being taught military technique by a medieval spirit and wooed by the more-than-handsome new guy at school. With so much going on in her life, how is she supposed to actually stop and think for even a minute about how to answer the call of the Black Rose, especially when her father’s life starts to slip away due to a demon spell. No one can make the decision for her—it’s up to her to decide what’s really right and what’s really wrong. With interesting characters and a fresh plot, this absorbing read addresses everything from peer pressure to intelligent guy pals to self-reliance, with just enough paranormal activity to maintain an edge.

The message never overwhelms the fun in this frothy paranormal romp . (Paranormal adventure. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-14-242397-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Speak/Penguin

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale.

LEGACY AND THE QUEEN

A 12-year-old girl living in a kingdom ruled by a mysterious queen dreams of attaining her sport’s highest prize.

Legacy Petrin lives and works in the financially strapped orphanage in the provinces run by her father and rises early every day to practice tennis with her old racket. After her best friend, Van, excitedly tells her about a scholarship competition for a spot at an esteemed academy and the opportunity to try out for the national championships, Legacy runs away to the city to compete. After winning, she learns there is still much she doesn’t know: The players are not just proficient in tennis, but also have magical skills that they use to their advantage. Legacy befriends Pippa, a knowledgeable girl from an elite tennis family, and acquires a builder, or coach, Javi. With Pippa and Javi at her side, Legacy makes her way through the competition, despite sabotage attempts, learning secrets about her own family along the way. Legacy is a strong character, and the secondary characters also have interesting backstories. The storyline is reminiscent of other dystopian stories, but centering tennis—with lively descriptions of matches that give a strong sense of the sport—is an unusual touch. Most characters are white, although Javi is brown-skinned, and some other characters of color are mentioned.

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949520-03-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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