A chaotic conclusion, best for fervent fans and those who want more romance than Rick Riordan’s novels.

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THE IMMORTAL THRONE

From the Into the Dark series , Vol. 3

Teen lovers go to Hades and back in this third book.

Small-town 17-year-old singer Daphne Raines is stuck in the Greco-Roman–esque Underrealm, betrothed to Garrick—former servant, current ruler, and increasingly unhinged villain—and missing her magical musical skills, family, and new love, 17-year-old Haden. When a hasty escape brings unexpected powers and alliances, Daphne takes charge to keep the monstrous Keres in the Pits, save the innocents, and get topside. On Earth and in the Skyrealm above it, formal and formerly royal Haden gains humanity as he succumbs to a poisoned-arrow wound and suffers inadequate (but humorous) stop-gap solutions. The third co-narrator, torture-victim Tobin, initially offers little assistance but later proves helpful, as does a crowded cast of disgraced Skylords and diminished deities. Almost all the friends and enemies from previous installments play a role, but early and heavy-handed exposition offers access for new readers while melodramatic reunions, frequent battle scenes, and abundant reversals of fortune keep the story moving. Although Despain weaves in some classical mythology and nods to pop culture, she invests the bulk of her energy in detailing the long-running political and personal feuds of the Underlords and Skylords.

A chaotic conclusion, best for fervent fans and those who want more romance than Rick Riordan’s novels. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0583-5

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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