A delicious drama of morally imperfect characters in a fantastical future world with timely, relevant politics.

SHATTER

From the Glitter Duology series , Vol. 2

In this sci-fi duology closer, Queen Danica must embrace her role to find a way to break out of her gilded, 22nd-century cage.

Dani’s been back-stabbed by her crime-lord contact and returned to the palace, where she’s forced to wed the king and to continue dealing Glitter. The young white woman resolves to take down the men controlling her and to rescue her enslaved love, Saber (a green-eyed man of Mongolian descent). Playing along until she has the resources to make a true move, Dani must take down social rivals (such as King Justin’s bully of a mistress, Lady Cyn) and scheme against dissident factions within Sonoman-Versailles. The strategies required demand that she think of the consequences (and said consequences’ consequences) of her actions, which reinforces the guilt she feels about the casualties of her decisions—but they also reveal something she finds unpleasant about herself: she enjoys the power games, especially winning them. While pulling at threads to find weaknesses in her enemies, Dani and her friends uncover company secrets that trigger heavy themes about automation’s impact on economies and the concentration of wealth. Dani and Saber’s relationship is much better realized than in Glitter (2016), especially when they disagree or he’s criticizing her decisions (and helping her grow stronger—literally). The hard-fought ending tonally matches the story.

A delicious drama of morally imperfect characters in a fantastical future world with timely, relevant politics. (Romantic thriller/science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93374-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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