A disjointed science-fiction thriller helmed by yet another heroine prioritizing a problematic romance above all else.

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BROKEN WORLDS

From the Broken Worlds series , Vol. 1

A teenage runaway survives a brutal attack with the aid of a beautiful stranger, only to discover her new friend isn’t quite the hero she’s always dreamed of.

At 16, Kalli finds herself trapped under the thumb of her mother’s cousin, Sita. After Kalli’s father leaves, Sita forces men upon Kalli under the guise of finding her a rich Indian husband to support the family. Finally, Kalli flees, only to be assaulted and nearly killed. An angelic stranger named Ellis saves her and brings her to a healer. Kalli wakes with only a tiny scar, as if she were never hurt at all, and soon Ellis invites her to stay with him while she heals. Kalli swings rapidly from mistrust to infatuation; she worries her new situation is too good to be true, but the truth is far stranger than she ever imagined. Robinson spins a story that begins as an eerie mystery and takes a sharp turn into B-movie science-fiction territory. Kalli’s character initially reads as authentic but quickly swerves headfirst into the trope of a teen girl in love, stunting opportunities for growth. The second half of the story reads like a different novel from the first, with too little weight given to worldbuilding.

A disjointed science-fiction thriller helmed by yet another heroine prioritizing a problematic romance above all else. (Science fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933767-37-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: CBAY

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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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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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