A strong and satisfying conclusion.

A QUEEN OF GILDED HORNS

From the River of Royal Blood series , Vol. 2

Princess Eva returns in this follow-up to the duology that started with A River of Royal Blood (2019).

Picking up where the last book left off, Eva’s on the run from her ruthless queen mother, with her friends, guards, and kidnapped sister and rival heir, Isa, in tow. As Eva continues to struggle with the knowledge that to become queen she must kill Isa—or be killed herself—she also contemplates what it means that both of her parents have lied to her (in very different ways). New revelations, realizations, and relationships have tempered Eva’s privileged upbringing, shaking her foundations, and her growth is apparent. Though she grapples with multiple problems—and further surprises about herself—Eva chooses to focus on the grave injustices her human ancestors have visited on her khimaer people, and she creates a plan of action. Chapters alternate between Eva’s first-person perspective and those of Isa and a few other secondary characters (told in the third person). Themes of parental disappointment and abuse, sibling bonds, and speciesism are strongly developed and well explored. Joy’s writing is exemplary; a strong plot, even pacing, and character growth (not only Eva’s) all lead up to an ending that should satisfy even the pickiest readers. Eva and many secondary characters are brown-skinned while Isa is light brown and some others are lighter skinned.

A strong and satisfying conclusion. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-51861-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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