A fiercely hopeful exploration of loyalty, perception, and agency in the face of fear, misinformation, and violence.

FORGING SILVER INTO STARS

As Emberfall and Syhl Shallow prepare a Royal Challenge to promote unity between their countries, the vocally anti-magic Truthbringers conspire to turn public favor against King Grey.

Set four years after Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker trilogy, this timely, nuanced series opener introduces teen narrators Callyn, Jax, and Tycho, whose alternating perspectives navigate moral ambiguities and confront past and present traumas. Baker Callyn and blacksmith Jax have supported one another through many hardships: the accident that claimed one of Jax’s feet, the loss of Callyn’s parents, and the ongoing physical abuse Jax sustains from his father. Pushed to the point of desperation, Jax and Callyn accept a dangerous but well-paid job conveying potentially treasonous messages for the Truthbringers—but after a chance encounter with Tycho, the King’s Courier, the friends realize they’re in way over their heads. Notably, despite widespread distrust of magic, Tycho and others in Grey’s inner circle wear rings of Iishellasan steel that allow them to borrow his power, foreshadowing further revelations about how the magic functions. Tycho also faces scrutiny for his growing friendship with Jax and Callyn, and as the first Royal Challenge approaches, political and romantic intrigue abound. Both primary romances offer a masterclass in organic yet explicit depictions of consent, including a smoldering queer romance that’s profound in its treatment of intimacy with a sexual assault survivor. Major characters default to White.

A fiercely hopeful exploration of loyalty, perception, and agency in the face of fear, misinformation, and violence. (map, character list) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0912-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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