An appealing story for readers interested in fantasy and myth.

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THE STONE OF SORROW

From the Runecaster series , Vol. 1

A fantasy set in a magical version of ancient Iceland.

Runa is an apprentice runecaster who is assigned by fate to follow her beloved sister, Sýr, in a perilous journey to refresh the powers of the magical moonstone in the sacred moonwater pool during the red moon’s eclipse. At first it seems that everything is against Runa. She has eye problems, suffers from apparent panic attacks which impede her actions, and hates runecasting. When Runa’s village is attacked and set on fire by enemy Jötnar warriors under the influence of the evil sorceress Katla, who kidnaps Sýr, Runa is forced to take on the mission to rescue her sister and recharge the moonstone. In the process, Runa combats insecurity and loneliness and discovers her own strength. She forms an unlikely alliance with Einar, who is half human/half elf, and Oski, a damaged Valkyrie who is referred to as “they.” The trio moves through space and time to conquer evil and restore life and order to Runa’s community. The ending hints at a sequel. Carter (The Unbroken Hearts Club, 2019, etc.) acknowledges her Icelandic grandmother as the inspiration for this story. Runa has white hair and pale skin; her sister has dark hair and brown skin (signaling elven heritage). This fast-paced, engaging narrative with succinct, sometimes funny dialogue will be particularly validating for girls who may have insecurities about their own strengths.

An appealing story for readers interested in fantasy and myth. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2439-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Orca

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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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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