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PENANCE

From the The Kingdom Come Series series , Vol. 2

A spiritual YA adventure that emphasizes finding the light during dark times.

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A teenager who’s half angel becomes Lucifer’s prey in this YA fantasy sequel.

Seventeen-year-old Achaia Cohen’s father, Shael, is a legendary Nephilim fighter who won the right to raise his daughter after her human mother died in Transgression (2017). A group of powerful Nephilim disguised as human teenagers, including Emile, Olivier, Amelia, Yellaina, and Noland, help to protect Achaia as she lives her life in New York City. Typically, Nephilim who are “soul mates” unquestioningly bond, but because Achaia is half mortal, she’s free to turn Noland, her doting bodyguard, away. One night, the pair walk the city at night hoping to untangle their unusual relationship, and demons attack them, delivering a warning to Achaia that Lucifer “is coming for you.” Later, the Nephilim Council of Elders summons the teen protectors to Rome for interviews regarding their previous adventure. Strangely, Achaia and Shael aren’t invited. One morning when Achaia’s alone, she’s abducted by Lucifer’s henchmen and wakes up in a frozen prison, where Lucifer, nicknamed “Luc,” reveals his memories as part of a plan to seduce her. Meanwhile, the Council disbands Achaia’s group of protectors, sending them to Chile and France, making a concerted hunt for Achaia seemingly impossible. Ange’s taut, well-paced sequel ratchets up the personal stakes for its main character but also pushes the planet toward annihilation; later, the United States and China begin waging what may be the war to end all wars. Early on, however, Achaia and Noland have adorably awkward moments together that will make readers invested in their potential future together. Ange effectively tilts the story toward darkness during the scene of Achaia’s savage abduction in her kitchen, with a fight that employs a frying pan and hot cooking oil as weapons. Vibrant new characters appear, such as Jude, Luc’s sympathetic son; and Veronica, a weapon-smith. Other characters perish, sharpening the novel’s grim spiritual message: “Achaia realized just how muddy grey could be, and that things were never really black and white.”

A spiritual YA adventure that emphasizes finding the light during dark times.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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  • New York Times Bestseller

DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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