An appealing story for readers interested in fantasy and myth.

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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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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