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

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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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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A dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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