Creative and absorbing fantasy.

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WOLFSBANE

From the Nightshade series , Vol. 2

This second installment in the well-received Nightshade series puts 17-year-old alpha girl-wolf Calla into an alignment with her erstwhile mortal enemies, the Seekers, in an effort to save her pack and eventually the world.

This book picks up where the first ended, requiring familiarity with the earlier story and offering little explanation to new readers. Calla loves Shay, whom she rescued and transformed into a man-wolf in the first book. Yet she can’t abandon her fierce attraction to Ren, her intended mate, left behind in Vail, Colo., to suffer torture at the hands of the Keepers, the powerful beings who control the wolves. Worse, Calla realizes that the Keepers will destroy her wolf pack if she doesn’t save them with the Seekers’ help. With alliances decided and exposition of Calla’s new circumstances completed, Calla and the Seekers journey magically back to Vail to attempt a rescue of Ren and her pack. Cremer focuses this installment on plenty of action as the raid runs into trouble, referring only occasionally to her earlier theme of freedom. That battle does the job, however, along with the occasional hot-hot-hot sex scene, to keep readers hooked into the narrative. The series has plenty of oomph to continue beyond this story's cliffhanger. Fans will be satisfied and eager for the next installment.

Creative and absorbing fantasy. (Paranormal adventure. 14 & up)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25483-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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