Deftly explores poignant questions about the nature of loyalty in desperate circumstances.

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TRAITOR

A NOVEL OF WORLD WAR II

During World War II, two young men find themselves caught in the crosshairs of various factions in the occupied Galician city known to Poles as Lwów and to Ukrainians as L’viv.

Seventeen-year-old Tolya is a half Polish/half Ukrainian sniper in the Soviet Army stationed in the contested territory, where he must keep his Polish heritage a secret or risk his life. Aleksey is a charismatic Ukrainian nationalist whose father was a celebrated freedom fighter. The narrative jumps back and forth between Tolya in 1944, following the Soviet liberation of the city from Germany, and Aleksey three years earlier, with German forces poised to invade the city following the Soviets’ initial retreat. Their paths cross in 1944 when, in a split-second decision, Tolya shoots his unit’s political officer and Aleksey’s squad of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army rescues him at the behest of a mysterious informer within the Soviet ranks. Following a subsequent betrayal within his own squad, Aleksey goes on the run with Tolya, setting up a complex plot full of double crosses and unexpected alliances. The narrative’s nonlinear structure is effective at building suspense and garnering sympathy for its protagonists, though some confusion over who is fighting whom is warranted in this complicated slice of history that does not shy away from depicting scenes of violence and torture.

Deftly explores poignant questions about the nature of loyalty in desperate circumstances. (historical note, map, list of military and paramilitary forces, list of characters, author's note) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-31352-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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

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