A sequel that builds on its predecessor with mixed results.

TEARS OF FROST

From the Heart of Thorns series , Vol. 2

Magic and sisterhood intertwine in the high-stakes sequel to Heart of Thorns (2018).

Mia Rose awakens from her death with gaps in her memory and her senses gone numb. Her search for a mother who betrayed her trust leads her to the snow kingdom, where she hopes to find answers and a way to rescue Prince Quin from her sister Angelyne’s powerful enthrallment. Determined to seek revenge against her powerful mother, Pilar d’Aqila is on the run from the river kingdom when she runs into a recently escaped Prince Quin—the boy whose sister she killed. Pilar and Quin join forces to travel together into the snow kingdom in search of Pilar’s long-lost father. Chapters alternate viewpoints between Mia and Pilar, who are on a collision course that connects ongoing family secrets and betrayals, the failings of previous generations, and a thoughtful examination of agency, female empowerment, and the history of magic. In this world, “magic is born of a power imbalance,” and while this conceit showed a lot of promise in the overtly feminist first book, the sequel is effectively bogged down by an extended magical system that leads to convoluted worldbuilding, a love triangle, and trivial twists. Mia and Quin are white, Pilar has golden skin and black hair, and there are multiple queer characters.

A sequel that builds on its predecessor with mixed results. (map, author’s note, resources) (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-244771-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit.

THESE HOLLOW VOWS

Brie risks the deadly land of the Fae to save her sister.

Brie doesn’t trust many people other than Jas, her eternally hopeful sister, and Sebastian, mage apprentice and Brie’s secret love (as if she had time for romance). Brie struggles to meet the payments for the magical contracts binding their lives to Madame Vivias, supplementing her cleaning work by stealing from the rich. While the land of Faerie tempts other girls with word of a castle, a lavish ball, and a fae prince seeking a wife, Brie mistrusts the creatures who capitalize on humanity’s greed. When Jas’ contract is sold to the fae, Brie braves the golden Seelie queen’s court, meets the noble Prince Ronan, and travels on to the Unseelie king’s shadow court. In the process she discovers love, historical secrets, atrocities, and her own hidden strength. While many elements regarding the fae and a love triangle will feel familiar to fans of the genre, and the magic could have been more fleshed out, discussions of power, inequity, trust, and hope expand the worldbuilding in refreshing ways. Similarly, consideration of the balance between truth and secrets, lies and stories, is intriguing as it’s applied to characters, relationships, and historical lore. Despite certain predictable reveals, the plot itself, which starts off slowly, picks up and is pleasantly convoluted with multiple satisfying surprises. Major human characters read as White.

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-38657-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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