There are plenty of other (and far better) fish in the sea.

TIDAL

From the Watersong series , Vol. 3

It’s a race against the clock for 16-year-old Gemma in the third installment of the Watersong series.

Still desperate to stave off her thirst for a beating heart (preferably one belonging to a hot teenage boy) and to protect the ones she loves from the wrath of her evil siren sisters, Gemma must figure out how to break the siren curse before Penn finds a more suitable and willing replacement and kills Gemma herself. If only it were as exciting as that all sounds. The aptly titled novel ebbs and flows between present and a mythical past in a failed attempt to anchor the story and the characters in a history that may or may not be destined to repeat itself. While Penn is still deliciously evil, and her love-hate relationship with Daniel remains one of the best parts of the series, most of the characters feel two-dimensional at best. Others, including Lexi and Alex, who are absent for the bulk of the novel, feel like afterthoughts. As for the plotlines, far too little time is spent on Penn’s search for a replacement siren and too much time spent digging around in the sirens’ past. The result is that the urgency of Gemma’s situation is given good lip service, but readers will be hard-pressed to actually feel it.

There are plenty of other (and far better) fish in the sea. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

Pub Date: June 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-250-00811-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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

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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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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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