Formulaic but fun, which makes all the difference.

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IF I SHOULD DIE

From the Die for Me series , Vol. 3

The Die for Me series about an American teenager involved with undead revenants in Paris concludes.

Courageous, loyal Kate mourns not the death, which is a normal occurrence for revenants, but the cremation of her undead boyfriend, Vincent, at the hands of Violette, leader of the evil numa. Vincent can’t come back to life if his body no longer exists. Luckily, Kate and Bran, the revenants’ healer assistant, unearth a ceremony that might restore him but only if they also can find the ancient, lost equipment necessary. With or without Vincent, the book continues with preparation for battle, then actual battle, with plenty of well-paced tension. Appropriately spaced romantic interludes provide variety. The major plot point is the identity of a prophesied champion, destined to win the battle between good and evil, at least in Paris, for now, and of course, the heroine faces the usual insurmountable odds. Fortunately, this series doesn’t take itself completely seriously. Plum includes fairly frequent tongue-in-cheek humor lampooning her own plot—“my safety was at risk because of an evil undead medieval teenager”—which helps lift the book above standard undead fare. Yes, it’s the usual mishmash of romance and the supernatural, but the author keeps the narrative moving along at a sprightly pace and handles the suspense well.

Formulaic but fun, which makes all the difference. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-200403-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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

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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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