A family-centered time-travel adventure with a lot of heart.

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BLOWBACK ’94

WHEN THE ONLY WAY FORWARD IS BACK

From the The Blowback Trilogy series , Vol. 3

This YA novel concludes a time-travel trilogy with a trip back to belle epoque Paris.

High school junior and music nerd Iris Jongler-Jinks has already accidentally used her family’s heirloom cor anglais (an English horn) to send people back to 1907 and 1863. The latter trip, taken by her twin brother, Arky, was supposed to help them find their mother, the missing astrophysicist Dr. Octavia Jongler. But Arky came back empty-handed. Now it’s finally Iris’ turn. When the so-called Horn of Angels begins to play on its own, the mists that flow from it carry her back to Paris in 1894, at the height of the belle epoque. The only problem is that Arky has somehow traveled back with her: “It wasn’t fair. He’d had his time voyage; why did he have to spoil hers?” Luckily, they quickly get wind of a Madame Jongler who performs as a spider woman at the famous Moulin Rouge. They are finally reunited with Octavia, but bringing her back to the present is not so simple. “While a Jongler can use the cor anglais to send a troubled soul to the past,” goes the legend, “the voyager must discover what’s needed from the past on their own.” Stuck in one of the past’s most colorful locales, the twins must find the lesson that they’re all supposed to learn before they can go home—if they even want to go home at all. Meehl’s prose mixes humor with sumptuous period details: “When the out-of-control bicyclist just missed an elderly man in the street, the old man shook his cane at the two-wheeled terrorist and yelled, ‘There should be a law against those damn machines!’ ” The novel features the requisite appearances by period figures like Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, and fans of the series will enjoy watching Iris excitedly imbibe the culture and music of the City of Light. Though the pace sometimes feels a bit slow, the world is rich enough—and the characters entertaining enough—to carry this tale to a conclusion that should satisfy those who have been with the indefatigable Jongler-Jinkses all along.

A family-centered time-travel adventure with a lot of heart.

Pub Date: March 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9857114-2-9

Page Count: 409

Publisher: Twisko Press

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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