A thrilling space epic that will fly off the shelves.

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AURORA BURNING

From the Aurora Cycle series , Vol. 2

Aurora Legion Squad 312 is back in this sequel to Aurora Rising (2019), and this time they’re on the run from...pretty much everyone in the galaxy.

Having been framed for the massacre at the end of the first book, the remaining members of Squad 312 (of various humanoid races, led by Tyler Jones, a blond-haired, blue-eyed human) now have a bounty on their heads. Besides staying alive, the squad’s main mission is keeping their stowaway, Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, safe so she can learn to harness her supernatural powers and fulfill her destiny. She may be the one person who can stop the evil race of Ra’haam from destroying the galaxy. They are aided only by a cache of objects mysteriously planted in a safe box years before they even met. Their greatest obstacle, however, is the Unbroken—a warrior faction of the Syldrathi race who threaten a galaxywide war. As with many sophomore installments, this volume is heavy on exposition and plot development but still features nonstop action, romance, and a few satisfying surprises. Darker in tone and more violent than the first, there is less of the charming humor that characterized the previous book but still lots of feels. Warning: the cliffhanger ending may prove extremely frustrating for impatient readers. As before, the cast is diverse in skin tone.

A thrilling space epic that will fly off the shelves. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-2092-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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