Whether they'll feel motivated to pick up the next three books is anyone's guess.

WAKE

From the Watersong series , Vol. 1

In self-publishing phenom Hocking’s (Ascend, 2012) disappointing foray into new paranormal territory, one night of partying on the beach leaves 16-year-old Gemma with more than a hangover.

When the initial fog of her late night at the cove with a trio of sirens (more frequently, and unimaginatively, referred to as “weird pretty girls”) wears off, Gemma discovers that she is stronger, faster and more beautiful than ever. (Readers might have found this transformation more compelling if Gemma weren’t already strong and beautiful, also graceful and endowed with honey-colored eyes.) Now she just has to choose between the life she loves and the lure of her newfound mythical powers. The question is, will readers care? The “should I stay or should I go” tension at the heart of the story would be a lot more effective if the ties that bind Gemma's broken family together were more fully developed. Her father is practically nonexistent. Her mother, mentally impaired and incapable of taking care of anyone, including herself, lives in an assisted-care facility. The only constant is Gemma’s older sister Harper, whose need to look out for her feels more like an obsessive yearning for control than real emotion. In the end, it’s secondary characters, like the girls’ love interests, who will sustain readers determined to make it to the final page.

Whether they'll feel motivated to pick up the next three books is anyone's guess. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00812-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A slo-mo environmental disaster story.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES

Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more