It’s fine in pace and flow but disintegrates under scrutiny.

THE EXO PROJECT

Can humans settle another planet before it’s too late?

Earth is slowly dying. To fund cancer treatment for his mother, currently in cryogenic stasis, 17-year-old Matthew volunteers to be cryogenically frozen and sent 100 light-years away to one of thousands of potentially habitable planets. There’s no return—he’ll message Earth the results, and if the planet’s unviable, he’ll take a suicide pill. On Gle’ah, Matthew’s destination planet, 17-year-old Kiva leads a pre-industrial, matriarchal society. Debut novelist DeYoung crams in multitudes of plot points—cross-universe, destined romance, politics and violence on Gle’ah, weapons of mass destruction, telepathy, magical healing, drugs, and a mass shooting. A multiperspective narrative approach gives readers broad information but contains only mild characterization; main characters, especially Matthew, read like place holders. Dunne, a middle-aged black woman on Matthew’s team, specializes in particle physics and medicine but goes largely unconsulted regarding the plot’s pivotal decision; instead, white teen Matthew makes the core decision alone. Kiva’s people are “exactly like humans in every way” except for their gray skin, resulting in a culture of not-quite-white people without characters of color. The scientific/religious explanations for phenomena on Gle’ah will remind readers of Star Wars’ midi-chlorians—and not in a good way. See Beth Revis’ Across the Universe (2011) for cryogenics and Phoebe North’s Starglass (2013) for romance destined across the stars.

It’s fine in pace and flow but disintegrates under scrutiny. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62979-610-9

Page Count: 455

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit.

THESE HOLLOW VOWS

Brie risks the deadly land of the Fae to save her sister.

Brie doesn’t trust many people other than Jas, her eternally hopeful sister, and Sebastian, mage apprentice and Brie’s secret love (as if she had time for romance). Brie struggles to meet the payments for the magical contracts binding their lives to Madame Vivias, supplementing her cleaning work by stealing from the rich. While the land of Faerie tempts other girls with word of a castle, a lavish ball, and a fae prince seeking a wife, Brie mistrusts the creatures who capitalize on humanity’s greed. When Jas’ contract is sold to the fae, Brie braves the golden Seelie queen’s court, meets the noble Prince Ronan, and travels on to the Unseelie king’s shadow court. In the process she discovers love, historical secrets, atrocities, and her own hidden strength. While many elements regarding the fae and a love triangle will feel familiar to fans of the genre, and the magic could have been more fleshed out, discussions of power, inequity, trust, and hope expand the worldbuilding in refreshing ways. Similarly, consideration of the balance between truth and secrets, lies and stories, is intriguing as it’s applied to characters, relationships, and historical lore. Despite certain predictable reveals, the plot itself, which starts off slowly, picks up and is pleasantly convoluted with multiple satisfying surprises. Major human characters read as White.

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-38657-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more