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REBEL SKIES

From the Rebel Skies series , Vol. 1

A deliciously edgy plot and lingering mysteries will leave readers eager for the sequel.

Kitchen helper Kurara, who works in the floating castle Midori and has memories she can’t unlock, finds herself on a quest to restore her best friend’s body following a disaster.

In this Japanese-inspired fantasy, the sky-dwelling Sorabito people and the groundlings (who form the middle strata of society) live under the rule of the Emperor, whose throne is being fought over by Prince Ugetsu and Princess Tsukimi. The princess is obsessed with Crafters, those who can control shikigami, or sentient animal beings made of folded paper; some Crafters serve the imperial family. Kurara’s world is shattered when, shortly before the Midori is destroyed, a stranger named Himura tells her she’s a Crafter just like him. Following the crash, Haru, Kurara’s best friend, is revealed to be a rare human shikigami. Although most of Haru burns up, Himura saves his core, informing Kurara that if she impresses the princess, she’ll be able to access records available only to the royal family that will allow her to rebuild Haru’s body. Kurara trains with Himura aboard the Sorabito ship the Orihime. Working with her challenges Himura’s ingrained belief that shikigami exist merely to serve Crafters. Engrossing revelations are interspersed throughout this debut, which deftly toggles between multiple viewpoints, exploring Kurara’s position as she’s caught between a Sorabito rebellion, an assassination plot, and a predatory princess, all while trying to decipher her own fragmented memories.

A deliciously edgy plot and lingering mysteries will leave readers eager for the sequel. (map, glossary) (Fantasy. 12-17)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9781774883983

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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