Although the exposition and story take a while to sync up, Jarzab succeeds with a parallel-world concept that is also an...

TANDEM

From the Many-Worlds Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A girl is forced to take the place of a parallel universe’s version of herself.

Ordinary girl Sasha Lawson has dreamt that she is another person, Princess Juliana, since she was a little girl. After an amazing prom night with a handsome classmate, Sasha is torn from her world and sent to the parallel world of Aurora. There, she learns that her date is really Thomas Mayhew, Aurora’s analog (a counterpart but not necessarily an exact double) of her classmate. He is a member of the King’s Elite Service of the United Commonwealth of Columbia. (In Aurora, the first attempt at revolution in the American colonies failed, and the successful one yielded monarchy.) His mission was to abduct Sasha, as she is an analog to the UCC’s Princess Juliana, who has disappeared shortly before a peace treaty with nearby Farnham is to be sealed through Juliana’s arranged marriage. The UCC will send Sasha home if she successfully impersonates Juliana and thereby prevents war with Farnham. Unsurprisingly for genre readers, Sasha falls for Thomas despite trust issues while also connecting with Juliana’s fiance, charming Prince Callum. The worldbuilding is sometimes clunky but always interesting; the villain’s lack of trustworthiness is obvious enough to undermine intrigue, but the deeper into the book, the more entertaining it gets.

Although the exposition and story take a while to sync up, Jarzab succeeds with a parallel-world concept that is also an entertaining read. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-74277-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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