An ambitious series opener with promise.

GIVE THE DARK MY LOVE

From the Give the Dark My Love series , Vol. 1

An unassuming country girl wages battle against a deadly plague.

Nedra Brysstain, an identical twin and the olive-skinned, black-haired daughter of a humble book peddler, leaves her quiet life in a rural village to attend a prestigious private school on scholarship. Under the tutelage of the enigmatic Master Ostrum, Nedra studies medicinal alchemy—a method of transferring patients’ pain through a crucible into another living creature (usually a rat). Though studious, Nedra falls for her classmate, handsome and affluent Greggori Astor. A plague known as the Wasting Death, thought to only affect the impoverished, is decimating the working poor and deepening an already precarious political rift. As the numbers of the dead increase, Nedra’s temperament shifts from empathetic to angry. When those close to her fall ill, Nedra must make a terrible choice, turning to necromancy in hopes of ending the plague and saving those she loves. Her transformation from a poor provincial girl to a fierce commander is transfixing; her choices may be fraught, but her risk-taking is thrilling. Although the central romance is hetero, secondary characters are queer. Revis’ (A World Without You, 2016, etc.) epic is a bit uneven, rambling at times but keeping pages flying at others. Pacing aside, expect this complex and atmospheric mix of fantasy, family secrets, and political intrigue to have strong crossover appeal. Characters are assumed white.

An ambitious series opener with promise. (Dark fantasy. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-595-14717-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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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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