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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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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