While meditating on a variety of interesting themes and featuring some genuinely disturbing scares, in the end this novel’s...

NIGHTINGALE

A troubled young woman is confined to a sinister hospital in this horror story set in 1951 suburbia.

As the novel opens, June finds herself rooming with Eleanor, a girl who claims to be dead, at an institution staffed by eerily cheerful, monstrous nurses. June was admitted there following an incident in which she believed her parents had been replaced by imposters. Her home life has long been far from ideal, with June struggling mightily against her family’s gender normative expectations that she will one day happily marry and keep house. Alternating between June’s often grisly and drug-induced nightmares at the institution and chapters that recount the months leading up to her confinement, a somewhat compelling but muddled tale is slowly spun out that raises the ongoing question of whether June is mentally ill or is in actuality being menaced by otherworldly creatures. Gory descriptions of young women being tortured by procedures such as lobotomies and electroshock therapy echo some of the medical establishment’s most shameful history but seem to be played for their impact. A sweetly realistic romantic and sexual relationship blooms between June and Eleanor. The book follows a white default.

While meditating on a variety of interesting themes and featuring some genuinely disturbing scares, in the end this novel’s parts are more successful than its whole. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-335-01234-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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