An action-packed thrill ride and stellar head trip.

READ REVIEW

GEMINA

From the Illuminae Files series , Vol. 2

Continuing Illuminae’s (2015) story, Kaufman and Kristoff explore what went down on Jump Station Heimdall while the spaceship Hypatia was trying to get there.

This time around, the found-footage–style collage narration (instant messages, radio conversations, video transcripts, diary pages, and the like) is framed as evidence at a tribunal investigating the activities of BeiTech Industries. The station commander’s white teenage daughter, Hanna, and her white drug dealer, Nik, avoid death and capture when a multiracial commando team of BeiTech “auditors” board Heimdall to take over its wormhole (which badly needs maintenance) for a BeiTech drone assault fleet sent to eliminate Kerenza’s witnesses. With lots of sneaking, combat, quick thinking, and the crucial help of Nik’s younger cousin Ella (a quippy, brilliant hacker disabled by a space plague she barely survived), they throw everything they have against their better-armed and -trained assailants. But the drug operation relies on mind-eating, multiheaded, predatory parasites with psychoactive venom, and with the cartel out of action, the carefully tended newborns get loose on the station, and are they ever hungry! Tension snowballs with each new small complication, resulting in a read harder to put down with each page. Despite superficial similarities (protagonists and formatting—not all final art seen) to Illuminae, forward plot motion and surprises right up to the cliffhanger ending keep this its own book.

An action-packed thrill ride and stellar head trip. (Science fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-49915-5

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more