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From the Cursebreaker series , Vol. 3

Offers one satisfying twist after another.

Rival nations Emberfall and Syhl Shallow process the revelation that former royal guardsman Grey is not only the long-lost heir of Emberfall, but also the first known magesmith in years.

Prince Rhen and Princess Harper prepare for a clash with Syhl Shallow, where Lia Mara, now queen, faces criticism for her controversial alliance with Grey. Even as Grey learns to wield his magic for good, Rhen is cornered by the vengeful enchantress Lilith, whose magesmith family was destroyed by Rhen’s family years prior. The memory of the brutal physical and psychological abuse Rhen and Grey endured while under Lilith’s curse prevents Rhen from believing that any magic user, even his half brother and former confidant, can be trusted. Meanwhile, the brothers’ charismatic, loyal, and headstrong partners experience their own internal conflicts: Lia Mara questions her commitment to peace, and Harper draws uncomfortable connections between her parents’ marriage and her own relationship with Rhen. The political and romantic stakes are at an all-time high as the young rulers and their allies must navigate relationships, responsibilities, and existential questions about trust, legacy, and power before it’s too late. Kemmerer blends contemporary American speech and progressive values with medieval European–inspired cultural elements to successfully construct a dynamic, boundary-pushing exploration of familiar fairy tales, although the systems of magic themselves could be more highly developed. Major characters appear to be White; Harper has cerebral palsy.

Offers one satisfying twist after another. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0258-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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