A twisty, fun read for the paranormal faithful.

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EARTHQUAKE

From the Earthbound series , Vol. 2

Following Earthbound (2013), Tavia’s missing memories hold the key to saving the world.

Reincarnated goddess Tavia has found the boy/fellow Earthbound that she’s spent her past lives loving—a good thing, as they needed to reunite to “resurge,” or recover their full powers and renew their immortality for another set of reincarnations. In a slow start, before Tavia can make progress with Logan, the Reduciata capture them. Attempting to escape, Tavia discovers a dangerous special ability—just in time for the Curatoria to rescue them. Though long suspicious of the Curatoria, Tavia accepts their help in triggering Logan’s memory, in return helping the Curatoria’s leader in his quest to cure the Reduciata’s virus. In addition to ravaging the human population, the virus has made its way into the Earthbound population, with catastrophic implications—a Transformist, Tavia’s the only one who can stop it and save the globe’s population. At the same time, she must figure out whom to trust—she’s been warned against the Curatoria’s leader, and everyone seems to be keeping secrets. Additionally, she discovers she and Logan were not the only ones taken by the Curatoria—her former love interest, Benson, returns to anchor the love triangle. The farther into the pages, the deeper the intrigue gets—revelations fly so fast in the conclusion that readers may struggle to keep up.

A twisty, fun read for the paranormal faithful. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59514-6526

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Fear the reaper(s)…but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls.

THUNDERHEAD

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 2

Death proves impermanent in this sequel to Scythe (2016).

In a world run by the (almost) all-powerful and (almost) omniscient artificial intelligence Thunderhead, only the Honorable Scythes deal permanent death to near-immortal humans. Yet a growing contingent of scythes, feared and flattered by society and operating outside the Thunderhead’s control, are proving rather dishonorable. No longer apprentices, 18-year-olds Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch realize “the scythedom is…high school with murder” as they watch their fellow scythes jockey for power and prestige. Citra now gleans as Scythe Anastasia, questioning the status quo but also opposing the homicidally enthusiastic “new-order” scythes and their dangerous demagogue. Self-appointed as Scythe Lucifer, Rowan hunts other scythes whom he deems corrupt. Meanwhile, the existentially troubled Thunderhead questions its role as both creation and caretaker of humanity, sworn not to take life but fearing that its utopia will otherwise collapse into dystopia. Nationality and race are minimally mentioned—ethnic biases and genocide are considered very gauche—yet a population that defies death, aging, sickness, poverty, and war risks becoming bleakly homogenous, alleviated only by “unsavories” and scythes. This sequel digs deeper into Shusterman’s complex world and complicated characters, offering political maneuvering, fatal conspiracies, and impending catastrophe via a slowly unfurling plot and startling bursts of action.

Fear the reaper(s)…but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7245-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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