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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A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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