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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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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