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

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DREAMFALL

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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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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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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