For teens already reading adult fantasy but wanting something a bit more on their level, this hits the spot perfectly, flaws...

THIEF'S COVENANT

From the Widdershins Adventures series , Vol. 1

Marmell, known for RPG manuals and tie-ins as well as adult fantasy novels, here ventures into the teen market.

In a narrative that jumps between “now” and the recent past, readers meet feisty teen thief Widdershins and her companion Olgun, a god not recognized by the church as one of the 147 deities worshipped in Widdershins’ world. Four years ago, Widdershins was Adrienne, a scampy street thief adopted into the nobility. Two years ago she was the sole survivor of a massacre (aftermath described in gory detail) that left the rest of Olgun’s worshippers dead and Adrienne wanted for the murders. Now, everyone is after her: the thieves’ guild, a surprisingly sympathetic City Guard and a mysterious figure called The Apostle who commands a truly demonic creature. This is classic fantasy, both embracing and mocking the genre. Some humor goes astray: Belabored quips and overwrought descriptions can read more like bad writing than skewered tropes (“…ambient sound thick enough to ladle into bowls and serve as a soup course…”), but the plot is relentless and the characters likable enough. And Widdershins’ journey from acted-upon victim to acting-upon protagonist is a classic adolescent journey.

For teens already reading adult fantasy but wanting something a bit more on their level, this hits the spot perfectly, flaws and all. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61614-547-7

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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A rush of emotion and suspense.

THE FIRST TO DIE AT THE END

Crowds gather across the United States for the launch of Death-Cast, a company that promises to change the world by predicting the deaths of everyone who subscribes in this prequel to They Both Die at the End (2017).

Orion Pagan, an aspiring author with a heart condition, hopes his phone won’t ring at midnight, but he knows Death-Cast’s call is coming soon. Unlike Orion, Valentino Prince, a model on the verge of his national debut, has no reason to anticipate Death-Cast’s call and isn’t sure if he believes the company’s claims. By coincidence or fate, their lives collide at a party in Times Square, and a single, historic phone call alters the courses of their futures. This heart-pounding story follows the final day of the first Decker, or person who is going to die, and the national chaos of Death-Cast’s premiere. Silvera crafts a web of intricately interconnected character perspectives and conflicts around Orion and Valentino. Apart from Valentino and his twin sister, who are presumed White, most of the characters are Latine, including White-passing Orion, whose family is Puerto Rican. The story confronts heavy topics like grief, abuse, and religious faith with complexity and care. Despite the presumed inevitability of a fatal end to the central romance between Orion and Valentino, Silvera subverts the trope of punishing gay characters with violent tragedy. Familiarity with the original book provides additional context and depth but isn’t essential to understanding the plot.

A rush of emotion and suspense. (Speculative fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-324080-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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