In this case, as each chapter is predictable, the sequel will be more of the same


Jaime Salvator, a top pre-med student at Yale, witnesses an unprecedented sleep experiment involving teenagers who suffer from insomnia—and how it goes dreadfully wrong.

At the beginning of the experiment, an earthquake occurs that disrupts the Tower, an electrical output system that is attached to the seven subjects, who have been induced into REM sleep. Each of the sleepers has been catapulted into a shared dreamlike state filled with monsters, slime, and like scenarios based upon some of their worst nightmares. Narrative perspective alternates among the teens as they rely on one another to evade the horrors of their collective nightmare. In the experiment lab, Jaime secretly engages a hacker friend to help find information in an attempt to learn more about the patients’ backgrounds. The frame story takes a wildly unrealistic turn when, after a horrific fatality occurs in the lab, the doctors conducting the experiment actually leave Jaime alone in the lab with the remaining six comatose patients. With plotting reminiscent of a teen B-movie, the author relies upon a cast of stereotypical characters that in one case borders on xenophobic, as one of the narrating subjects describes Remi, a refugee from a fictional, war-torn country in Africa, as a kid who “looks out of place in a way only a foreigner can.” Jaime is probably black, implied by references to affirmative action and her origins in “one of Detroit’s worst neighborhoods.” Falling in line with the trend of the multivolume series, the abrupt ending to this book is not an innovative cliffhanger but a shallow contrivance to sell the next book.

In this case, as each chapter is predictable, the sequel will be more of the same . (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-242987-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A worthy successor to an explosive debut.


From the Legendborn series , Vol. 2

After Awakening the dormant spirit of her ancestor King Arthur Pendragon, almost-17-year-old Briana Matthews must fight to learn and control her magical inheritances.

As a Black person who also possesses the ability to use Root, a form of magic borrowed from deceased practitioners and passed down to her through her mother’s family, Bree is unique in the Line of Pendragon. It is through blood and violence that Bree’s magical abilities intertwined—both those from Arthur’s Welsh origins and from her family’s Bloodcraft originating during chattel slavery in the American South. Together they have turned her into one of the most powerful people either Line has ever known. The intricacies of her navigation of her new powers are at the heart of this sequel to Legendborn (2020), especially as Bree balances the knowledge that her Blackness creates a critical distance between her and the racist people she is sworn to protect as the king of all Legendborns. The plot is complex, and the morsels of information that help fill in the gaps of knowledge don’t always feel fully formed, which may leave readers confused as they try to keep up with the new powers and beings that are presented. Still, there are important, if hard to read, references, for example, when Bree is kidnapped and experimented on by an all-White council, a turn of events that reflects Deonn’s commitment to presenting unflinching truths about the cyclical insidiousness of racism.

A worthy successor to an explosive debut. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4163-7

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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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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